Utah Jazz rookie Rudy Gobert gets a car full of kernels for forgetting the doughnuts
Jeremiah Jensen, Ch. 5
SALT LAKE CITY — If Rudy Gobert smells like Orville Redenbacher for the next year or if he's nicknamed "The Kernel," there's a good explanation.
The Utah Jazz center forgot to bring doughnuts to Monday morning's shootaround.
Gobert's teammates let him know about the faux pas by, of course, filling his car up with popcorn.
Lots and lots of buttered popcorn.
"Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan," Gobert tweeted with an Instagram picture of his corny car.
"I knew something was coming. I could feel it," Gobert told Channel 5, which had a camera on the scene when he discovered the bags of popcorn dumped into his car's interior. "I don't know that (prank would happen). I was surprised."
Multiple teammates walked by Gobert's car, laughed and shook their heads when seeing how many kernels were inside.
Gobert initially started dumping the popcorn on the players' parking lot. But EnergySolutions Arena employees helped him clean his car and the mess on the concrete. The cleaning crew even brought out a leaf blower to help get the kernels out.
Third-year guard Alec Burks told KSL sports broadcaster Jeremiah Jensen that never happened to him.
"I (did) it right," Burks said as he entered his clean vehicle.
"That was my mistake," Gobert admitted. "But I guarantee that the rookies if I'm here the next few years they'll get something, too."
Gobert didn't hesitate when asked who the culprit was.
I'm sure it's Rich Jefferson," he said. "I know it's him."
Jefferson denied any and all culpability.
"No, No, No," Jefferson said. "If I did, I probably wouldn't tell anybody, but, no, it wasn't me."
He then called reporters to the witness stand (the imaginary one in the locker room), and asked media to collaborate the story that he didn't have any popcorn bags in his hands after shootaround.
"When I came out, there was popcorn in his car. I have no idea. I didn't see (bleep)," Jefferson said. "I think the better question would be asking him what happened and how it came to that. That's a much better question."
Regardless of the who and how, the prank gave Gobert an unexpected chore between shootaround and Monday's game against Boston.
"Headed to the car wash," he wrote on Twitter shortly after noon.
All of which raises an even better question: The Jazz center needs to be called "The Kernel" or "Kernel Gobert" now, right?
NEW SUPERHERO?: The last time Jefferson was seen after shootaround, he was teasing Gordon Hayward (with no popcorn in sight). As the shooting guard prepared to chat with reporters, the NBA veteran (called a 39-year-old by his younger teammate) jokingly introduced Hayward.
"Captain America," Jefferson said.
"No," Hayward said. "It isn't."
Jefferson loudly disagreed as he entered the locker room.
"Yes it is!" Jefferson said. "He even cut his hair like him."
STOCKTON STORIES: Boston rookie Kelly Olynyk said he’d hear Jazz stories “all the time” from David Stockton, his former Gonzaga teammate and son of Hall of Famer John Stockton.
“It was pretty cool hearing his stories, whether they were from the Jazz, the Dream Team or All-Stars," Olynyk said. "He’s got a lot of them.”
“(David) used to tell me that he and his brothers would be Rollerblading around the arena (then the Delta Center), down the ramp, and he crashed into a vending machine and it broke his collarbone," he said, smiling. "It’s pretty funny.”
Years later it is, at least.
John Stockton didn’t think so at the time. As the legendary story goes, the Jazz point guard was not thrilled to be pulled out of practice to attend to the painful tomfoolery.
POOL BOY: Olynyk tried to, well, soak in the experience of being around John Stockton while the Hall of Famer supported his son and the Zags.
“He’s just like a big pool of knowledge and hopefully you get a chance to dive into it," Olynyk said. " Anything you could pick his brain with is pretty special. He’s been around the game so much. He just knows the game so well, playing however many years he did here (19), playing how many ever All-Star games (10), Olympics, Dream Teams. He’s been through it all.”
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