Being from the states is not a requirement to be an amazing NBA player. Rudy Gobert makes that loud and clear. Gobert was born Rudy Gobert-Bourgarel on June 26, 1992, in France (Saint-Quentin, Aisne) to Rudy Bourgarel and Corrine Gobert.
Gobert’s love of basketball comes from his father. Bourgarel played professional basketball in Guadeloupe (a French island in the Caribbean) at Marist College as well as on the French national team in the 1980s. Bourgarel’s dream was to play for an NBA team, but that dream was never realized.
Rudy Gobert started playing club basketball in 2003 when he joined the JSC St-Quentin club. He then played club ball for the Saint-Quentin Basket-Ball club. In 2007, he began training with the Cholet Basket team, a French professional basketball club. He played on their junior team from 2009-11 and was selected to play for the French junior national in the FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship. He was the leading scorer and rebounder for the junior national team during that tournament.
Rudy Gobert played for Cholet through the 2012-13 season. During his time playing professional ball on the team, he averaged 6.2 points per game, 1.5 blocks per game, and 4.5 rebounds per game.
When Rudy Gobert declared for the 2013 NBA draft, he broke the combine records for wingspan and standing reach, at 7 feet 8 ½ inches and 9 feet 7 inches respectively. He was initially drafted by the Nuggets as the 27th overall pick but was later traded to the Utah Jazz, where he has been since then.
Although he spent a lot of his time in the NBA Developmental League during his first season with the Jazz, he played in over half of the Jazz’s regular-season games of that year. For the next few years, he played for the Jazz while the team continued to renew his rookie scale contract until the 2016-17 season. At that point, he signed a four-year contract extension with the Jazz. The deal, which would give him $102 million over the next four years, gave him the highest pay of any French athlete ever.
Now, Jazz fans can’t imagine the current Utah Jazz team without their beloved Stifle Tower. Rudy Gobert has improved from his first season with the Jazz’s developmental team to become one of the leading defensive players in the NBA. He made the NBA All-Defensive First Team in 2017 and 2018, was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2018, and was the NBA blocks leader in 2017.
And, like a fine French wine, he’s only gotten better. Not only is he a threat on defense, but he also makes an impact with scoring and is currently the second leading scorer for the Jazz with 15.4 points per game. He leads the team in rebounds and blocks with 12.9 rebounds per game and 2.2 blocks per game. Rudy Gobert is also second for field goal percentage with 65.7 percent.
As far as his career goes, as of Feb. 22 Rudy Gobert has racked up a total of 3,983 rebounds, 513 assists, 833 blocks, 263 steals, and 4,132 points in the six regular seasons he’s played for the Jazz.
Rudy Gobert isn’t just a contributor for the Jazz. He also plays for the French national team. When he was still a player for Cholet, he won a bronze medal for France in the 2011 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship and a silver medal for the same competition in 2012. He was also named to the All-Tournament Team for the event in 2012.
He was part of the French teams that won the bronze medals in the 2014 FIBA World Cup and the 2015 European Championship. He also represented France in the 2016 Olympic Games.
As Rudy Gobert continues to play for the Jazz and the French national team, he keeps on dazzling fans as he executes his deadly defense and becomes a bigger threat on offense.