Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert stung by a bee from his own hive before Game 6

The three-time Defensive Player of the Year is dealing with swelling but seemed in good spirits at the team’s morning shootaround.

Rudy Gobert came into shootaround on Thursday before the Jazz’s elimination Game 6 knowing that he’d be getting a lot of questions about his swollen face — from teammates and media alike.

So he came up with a cover story to get some laughs: “It was like seven guys.. .. I was the only one that came out of the room.”

OK, it wasn’t that Gobert got in a fight. His attacker was a much smaller foe: a bee.

So here’s the story, according to Gobert: he’s always liked honey, and so always wanted to have his own beehive. About a year ago, he finally took the plunge, purchasing a hive for his Salt Lake City-area home. Why?

“There’s a few things. It’s good for the environment, it’s good for the landscape, the flowers, the fruits. And I love honey, so I always wanted to have my own. It’s great,” he said.

Unfortunately, there are “casualties” from time to time, as Gobert pointed out. This week, Gobert worked with a beekeeper to change the queen bee in his hive, and his bees have been “a little upset” since then. And that’s what led to the sting he displayed so proudly on Thursday.

Gobert says it’s the third time he’s been stung since owning the bees, but insisted “it’s actually good to get stung by a bee. There’s actually some good benefits. There’s actually some treatments where people get stung on purpose.”

For those skeptical — and it’s probably fair to be, given Gobert’s enjoyment of crystals — there actually is significant scientific, peer-reviewed research indicating that bee stings and bee sting venom might have some limited positive health impacts. At the very least, being stung by a small amount of bee venom does seem to increase capacity to handle greater amounts of bee venom later on, according to a synopsis published in Science magazine.

There are other purported health benefits from pain relief to skincare, though the evidence is largely from preliminary studies or anecdotal reports.

Gobert, for his part, says that he “always felt great the next few days after (being stung), for some reason.” No, he says, the bee sting on the bridge of his nose is not impacting his eyesight. And if Gobert thinks that he feels better than normal, then the bee’s sting couldn’t have come at a better time.