Gobert became viewed as the NBA’s patient zero.
He tried to piece together how he had contracted the virus, concluding that it probably happened on the road trip in New York, Boston or Detroit. He wondered how it was possible that other members of the Jazz didn’t test positive given that he shared locker rooms with his teammates and received massages from team staffers. As he recovered, he concluded that he probably wasn’t the first NBA player to contract the virus — just the first to return a positive test.
I understand why Gobert wants to believe this. He has been unfairly vilified for exposing the NBA to coronavirus.
And maybe he’s right. There are hundreds of NBA players, and many of them got coronavirus. It’s definitely possible one contracted coronavirus before him. Gobert could have gotten it from Mitchell or Wood rather than given it to those two. Heck, it’s possible another player tested positive for coronavirus before Gobert and just kept the result secret.
That’s unfair. His behavior deserved rebuke without knowing whether it’d result in Gobert getting coronavirus. He didn’t deserve extra scrutiny for actually testing positive.
Gobert having a bullseye on his back also shielded the NBA itself from deserved criticism for its early-stage handling of coronavirus.