SALT LAKE CITY — As tears dripped down the face of Corinne Gobert, her baby boy Rudy Gobert happily accepted his second consecutive Defensive Player of the Year trophy on Monday night from the stage of Barker Hangar in Los Angeles.
“My mom that’s here tonight, we came from our hometown in France,” Gobert told her, while gripping the hardware in a shiny blue suit.
“I just want to thank you,” he added.
With the latest honor, Gobert became the 10th player in league history to win the DPOY trophy more than once while joining Mark Eaton as the second Jazzman to win multiple times.
Jazz head coach Quin Snyder, assistant Alex Jensen and agent Bouna Ndiaye were also sitting at Gobert’s table as his name was announced as the winner, edging out Oklahoma City’s Paul George and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo as finalists.
Antetokounmpo was named the league’s MVP, though, as Dallas’ Luka Doncic won Rookie of the Year, Toronto’s Pascal Siakam won Most Improved Player, Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams won Sixth Man, Washington’s Bradley Beal took home the Community Assist Award and Milwaukee’s Mike Budenholzer won Coach of the Year.
“I like it, it’s a little shiny,” Siakam complimented Gobert’s attire on NBA TV before the ceremony. “He’s been hanging out with (comedian) Michael Blackson, so I get the shine a little bit, but I like it. I’ll give it a nine.”
Gobert, 26, helped the Jazz post the league’s second-best defensive rating in 2018-19 (105.2) while swatting the second-most shots in the league (187). He will celebrate his 27th birthday on Wednesday.
"This is all my teammates,” Gobert said. “I say this all the time, but it's a team game and when you have guys that bring it every night and come every day with the same focus and compete like we do, it's inspirational."
His new Jazz teammate Mike Conley Jr. was also named the Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year and given the NBA Sportsmanship Award. Conley and Donovan Mitchell were also finalists for the Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award for their off-court work in the community.
“Firstly, I think awards like these are, you know, truly just the sign of respect from your peers,” Conley said during the press conference. “I thank my parents for the way that they raised me and the man I am today.
“I'm just really honored and humbled,” he continued. “Could have given these awards to anybody, and for me to be standing up in front of you guys with both of them, I'm just truly grateful.”
In addition to finishing third in the league in blocks, averaging 2.3 per game, Gobert also posted career highs in points per game (15.9), rebounds (12.9) and assists per contest (2.0). The 7-foot-1 Frenchman led the league in field goal percentage (66.9 percent) while posting an NBA record 306 slam dunks this season.
Gobert has spent the past month training in Los Angeles, where he’s hired a new shooting coach. He will suit up for the French national team during the FIBA Basketball World Cup this summer, which will be held Aug. 31-Sept. 15 in China.
The Jazz reached the postseason for the third consecutive season while Gobert garnered All-NBA Defensive First Team and All-NBA Third Team honors to go along with the new DPOY trophy.1 comment on this story
Seeing her youngest son on the stage, in the limelight, Corinne definitely had a reason to cry tears of joy on Monday night.
“It means a lot. I never thought I would be able to do that when I started basketball, you know, playing in France,” Gobert said during his press conference. “I didn't know an NBA player, I didn't know nothing about basketball, really. I was just having fun.
“And, you know, then I started to become more competitive, year after year, and eventually, you know, I made it to the NBA, and I'm standing here today, so just very grateful.”