SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert had never listened to jazz music before Thursday night, but he had good reason to.
The Jazz organization on Friday morning began a campaign for the Frenchman to be voted the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year by releasing a vinyl record-themed package reminiscent of an album by famed jazz musician John Coltrane.
While there’s no actual music on the record, the package highlighting Gobert’s defensive prowess has just about everything else a real record and jacket would. The front cover features a portrait shot of the big fella, while the inside booklet that would usually have song lyrics contains some of his impressive stats and “reviews,” things people around the NBA have said about him.
The whole thing is incredibly detailed, down to the fact that it even smells like an old record.
“I never thought I’d be on the cover of a jazz album in my life,” Gobert said Friday morning after Utah’s shootaround. “I really like it. I think it’s cool. It’s kind of vintage. I think my mom’s going to like it.”
Gobert said he’ll likely keep it in his trophy room, while he suspects his mother Corinne will hang it up in a more prominent place, even if he doesn’t fancy that idea much.
“I’ll tell her not to, but it is what it is,” he said.
Although Gobert said he might not boastfully display the package, he is thankful the Jazz organization would go to such great lengths to make award voters aware of what he’s done this season.
“It means a lot,” he said. “I’m always thankful ... it makes me want to work even harder for this organization.”
As far as the actual award is concerned, Gobert said winning it for the second year in a row would be a big deal to him.Comment on this story
“It would mean a lot,” he said. “It’s history, and it’s something I take a lot of pride of. It’s all about the team. Like I always say, you don’t play great defense by yourself. You need everyone to be on board defensively. You need the coaching staff to be on board and my teammates. I anchor it, obviously, but if you don’t do what they’re doing, there’s no Defensive Player of the Year.”
After busting out some jazz music on Thursday, does Gobert think he’ll listen to it regularly moving forward?
“It’s actually relaxing, so it’s pretty good,” he said. “I’ve never really gotten into it, so I’ve got to dig in.”