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Rudy Gobert reacts to Jazz allowing fans into arena amid COVID-19

Rudy Gobert, Jazz

The Utah Jazz announced on Tuesday that home games at Vivint Arena will be played with a limited number of fans during the 2020-21 season, which will begin on Dec. 22.

Jazz All-Star center Rudy Gobert, who was the first reported NBA player to contract COVID-19, spoke to Eric Woodyard of ESPN about the surprising news.

The Jazz will allow a reduced seating capacity of 1,500 in the lower bowl of Vivint Arena, as well as limited seating on the suite level. Per the team’s website, “lower and upper bowl season ticket members will be given priority access for socially distanced seating at Jazz games during the arena’s limited capacity.”

After Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 in March, NBA commissioner Adam Silver suspended the 2019-20 season. Games resumed in July at Walt Disney World, where no fans were in attendance.

The Jazz lost to the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the 2020 playoffs in seven games. Utah took a 3-1 series lead but lost three games in a row in heartbreaking fashion.

Gobert finished the 2019-20 season with averages of 15.1 points and 13.5 rebounds per game. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year shot 69.3 percent from the field and 63.0 percent from the free-throw line.

As expected, the Jazz signed All-Star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell to a lucrative rookie-scale extension. While there have been whispers that Mitchell and Gobert don’t have the best relationship, it appears Utah is content with building around them for the long haul.