Whoever his personal fashion designer person is should be fired because that's terrible. —Joe Ingles on Gobert's fashion
LOS ANGELES — Rudy Gobert’s knee injury is certainly no joking matter.
But as the Utah Jazz center continues to heal from his right tibia contusion, some fans have found humor in his stylish outfits while sitting on the bench with funny memes and statuses on social media.
Whether it’s the tailor-fitted, dark burgundy suit he broke out for Tuesday’s home win on ESPN, with the slightly unbuttoned leopard print shirt underneath.
Or the dapper light maroon ensemble he sported on the sidelines for the recent East Coast road trip in New York, the Frenchman isn’t afraid to take risks.
Some good. Some bad.
“Terrible,” Jazz forward Joe Ingles said, laughing. “That’s not my style. I honestly thought he was kind of joking. I didn’t think he was really going to wear it out there. It’s a little bit too out there for the game I think.”
Typically, guys like Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Dwyane Wade and James Harden have garnered much attention for their off-court style, but Gobert is making his case to be mentioned in that category with his selections.
In 2005, former league commissioner David Stern instituted a dress code, which required players to wear business casual attire after many stars such Allen Iverson and Rasheed Wallace were targeted for throwback jerseys, baggy clothes and long chains.
Over the years, the dress code has become more lenient — allowing players more freedom to express themselves — but guys on the bench are still required to wear a sport coat, dress shoes or boots and socks, per league policy.
“Whoever his personal fashion designer person is should be fired because that’s terrible,” Ingles said, laughing. “Rudy does need to be in the headlines, he does enjoy that but it’s other ways to do it. I can help him.
“I can get him in the headlines if he wants and make up a couple stories or something if he wants me to but he needs to work on that,” he added. “He’s just going to say I was jealous of him or something.”
The league’s reigning shot blocking leader is showing positive signs throughout the rehabilitation process. He recently started back participating in individual on-court drills with coaches after practice and is involved in pregame workouts.
He has missed the past nine games with a bone bruise in his knee after clashing with Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters on Nov. 10 but there is still no update on his return. He continues to travel with the team but certainly won’t be playing tonight. Gobert was initially expected to miss at least four weeks.
All eyes will be on Gobert once again tonight on the sidelines in Los Angeles, one of America’s top fashion markets, as the Jazz face the Clippers in Staples Center at 8:30 p.m.
The Jazz (10-11) and Clippers (8-11) both enter tonight’s matchup with three-game winning streaks despite injury-riddled lineups.
Los Angeles will also be without star forward Blake Griffin, who could miss the next two months after suffering a sprained MCL in his left knee.
Utah guards Raul Neto and Rodney Hood are out with left hamstring and left ankle soreness, respectively, in addition to Joe Johnson who is out another two weeks with an injured wrist and Dante Exum (left shoulder).
“You just do everything that you can off of the injured players and our whole group to try to get them back as quickly as you can and that’s what we’re doing,” said Jazz coach Quin Snyder. “It’s part of the game. It’s a little larger part of the game for us, it’s a part of the game for the Clippers right now, and this is a unique game with both teams missing so many players.”
CARDINALS CONNECTION: Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell and Clippers center Montrezl Harrell both played at the University of Louisville. Harrell started in place of Blake Griffin. Clippers coach Doc Rivers praised his energy and passing ability before the tipoff. Harrell spent three seasons at Louisville from 2012-15, winning the Karl Malone Award, presented to the nation’s top power forward, as a junior. Mitchell spent the past two seasons at Louisville – earning ACC All-First Team honors as a sophomore.
RETURN OF THE MACK: The Los Angeles Clippers waived Jazz forward Joe Ingles during the 2014 preseason. Returning to the home of a franchise that didn’t want to keep him is now water under the bridge but Jazz coach Quin Snyder is happy that the league is now respecting the Aussie’s craft as an all-around talent, who can contribute in many ways.
“He’s a better player than he was when he got in the league,” Snyder said.