With 4:01 left to play Thursday night, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert was ejected for a skirmish with Indiana Pacers counterpart Myles Turner. While Gobert had a solid night on the court prior to his disqualification (19 points, 11 rebounds, 1 block), it was his performance in the postgame media session that stood out.
Turns out, the three-time Defensive Player of the Year had plenty to say about his scrap with Turner — which included a shove, a bearhug, and two other Jazz players ejected. Here are some of the highlights:
What exactly happened between them?
“He fouled me, then I kinda fell down, and I pulled him down. It was a foul — I fouled him. And then he got up and I think he shoved me in the back or something. And then nothing happened.”
On showing restraint and not throwing a punch
“First of all, we know we aren’t going to fight. Guys need to stop acting like they’re going to fight. We know that in 2 seconds, there’s going to be 20 security guards in between us. They know it’s good for the cameras, but they know we aren’t going to fight. Guys who are not about that life need to stop acting like they are.
“At some point, I might have to stand up for myself. [Especially] if the officials keep doing what they’ve been doing over this season — they’re allowing guys to do way too much s---. I keep my head cool because I have a lot of self-control. It’s actually funny because my boxing coach was at the game. That’s the only time of the year that he came to a game! It’s funny. But they teach you how to keep calm. And if I don’t feel threatened, I’m not gonna throw a punch and get suspended and hurt my team. And I didn’t feel a threat at all. I’m not gonna fight on a basketball court. But if somebody wants to fight, I’m easy to reach. I’m really easy to reach. I’m just not going to do it on social media. If anyone has a problem, I’m not going to solve it on Twitter or WhatsApp.”
On modern NBA players not walking the walk
“You know nothing is gonna happen. So let’s stop acting like you want to do something. Because if it was just me and you in a room, you’d do nothing, and it’s over. … It’s been every game that guys do it for the cameras. Twenty years ago, they would let you fight a little more; now … I can’t put myself in a position where I’m hurting my team. I’ve got more to lose, so I’ve got to be smarter. I’ve got to stand up for myself, but I’ve got to be smart.”
Is he expecting a suspension?
“I don’t think I should [be]. I didn’t do anything. It was [deserving of] a technical foul. But I just grabbed him and made sure that he couldn’t do anything else, and waited to see what was going to happen.”
And a bit more about players not wanting the smoke
“Guys need to stop acting like they’re going to do more, and [just] play basketball. And if they do want to do more, let’s do it outside the court and without security and then we’ll figure it out. But on the court, ain’t nobody going to do s---. Let’s stop acting like we’re about that life. Most guys are not.”