If, with his 2.16 m, he has never been part of the small category, Rudy Gobert is now playing in the backyard of the giants of the American basketball championship.
His napkin ring is reserved for the lords' table.
The pivot of the team of France and Utah Jazz indeed plays in the night of Sunday to Monday (0h15 on beIN Sports 1) his second All Star Game in Atlanta, the match of the stars which brings together the 24 best basketball players of the NBA.
Gobert thus equals the number of participations of the new retiree Joakim Noah (2013, 2014) and approaches Tony Parker who still looks down on him, with 6 invitations between 2006 and 2014. “In the NBA, Tony trivialized the exceptional, tells Jacques Monclar who will comment on the match for beIN Sports.
However, Rudy's performance should not be minimized: being invited to the All Star Game twice in a row is exceptional.
Even more so at this time when, at the level of the pivots, we have fairground phenomena.
"He's changing the face of his team"
When he arrived in 2013 directly from a large town - Cholet - and a distant frog-eating country, the NBA did not yet roll out the red carpet at its feet.
“I admire his career, confides Frédéric Weis, the Olympic vice-champion in Sydney.
When I saw this great stakes from Cholet leave for the NBA, I was wondering what he could do about it.
But Rudy is a hard worker.
Proof that no one was expecting him, Denver immediately traded him to send him to Salt Lake City, a historic franchise but mediocre at the time.
“If he went through Cholet remembers Jacques Monclar, it is because Insep had refused him.
The NBA only drafted him in 27th position.
Its story is really beautiful.
#TeamLeBron and #TeamDurant!
- NBA France (@NBAFRANCE) March 5, 2021
Eight years later, with a "franchise player" - major player - named Rudy Gobert, the Utah Jazz is today leader of the NBA ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn, Philadelphia and company.
Jazz is clearly a candidate for the supreme title and with leader Donovan Mitchell, the Mormon capital owes it a lot to its Frenchie.
“When Rudy is on the pitch, he changes the face of his team,” says the former Blues pivot Frédéric Weis.
He reassures his partners because they know that even if they miss a shot, Rudy will be there to take the rebound.
He runs at 14 points, 13 rebounds and 3 blocks per game.
I don't see a lot of players capable of that.
It would be worth asking the question for the title of MVP.
An outstanding defender
In other words, the title of best player on the planet, like LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden before him… Even Tony Parker has never had this honor: “MVP?
No, it is not possible, thinks Stephen Brun consultant to RMC Sport and co-founder of the “First Team”, a program dedicated to the NBA.
Unfortunately, the NBA has become a show league.
What matters are the offensive performances and the spectacle.
There are so many attacking mutants and Rudy is not one of them.
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MVP, so maybe not, but the son of the former international Rudy Bourgarel is part of a royal caste for his agent Bouna NDiaye: “Rudy is in the best 5 defensive end of the NBA, he said.
Double best defender in the league in 2018 and 2019, he collects individual trophies.
He meets all the criteria for excellence and the super max of the NBA.
There are only two players in this case: Giannis Antetokounmpo and him.
These are two players with a very particular body and who impact their entire team.
The best part is that at 28, he still has an impressive margin for improvement.
Rudy is a rare being.
A big thank you to Yop who is donating € 500 to @RudysFoundation for each of my home blocks this season.
Already € 23,000 donated and the counter will continue to climb!
- Rudy Gobert (@ rudygobert27) March 5, 2021
He is an outstanding defender, swallowing blocks and rebounds like Gargantua.
Since the start of the season, each time he slams an opponent against an opponent at home, a famous brand of drinking yogurt has donated 500 euros to its foundation, the “Rudy's Kids Foundation”.
Mid-season, the total has already climbed to 23,000 euros!
"What is missing for it to be recognized even more is an Olympic medal"
Utah was not mistaken by offering him at Christmas the third biggest contract in the history of the NBA to make the native of Saint-Quentin, the highest paid French champion of all time.
He will earn over $ 200 million over the next 5 years.
“Because of its complicated relationship with basketball, France does not measure the impact of Rudy, regrets Jacques Monclar.
When the French beat the United States at the World Cup in 2019, the American press said it was very much Rudy's victory.
He is with Evan Fournier, the essential player of the Blues.
What is missing for him to be recognized even more in his country of origin is an Olympic medal.
With the NBA title, it is the other big challenge of the year of the giant. In the meantime, he will play in Atlanta on the same team as LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo or Luka Doncic. Yes, it's called belonging to the big leagues.