The 7-foot Frenchman, who said his mother called him crying, seems to realize that while defense may win championships, as far as the coaches, fans and players of the NBA are concerned it does not necessarily warrant a selection to the All-Star Game.
“It’s [the All-Star Game snub] disrespectful not only toward me but toward the team, this organization, and the game,” Gobert said. “All the coaches preach about defense. Every day they talk about defense, they talk about how important it is to get stops in order to win basketball games. And when it’s time to vote, they don’t reward the best defensive player in the world.”
Jazz Coach Quin Snyder took a similar tack when asked about Gobert’s snub Thursday night, specifically calling out the voters' lack of attention to defense.
“I don’t even play for money, I don’t care about that all-star bonus, to be honest,” Gobert said. “It’s just about my legacy. Everything I do, I do it to win. It would be good if you could get some reward for that.”
With Anthony Davis’s injury status still in question, it’s possible Gobert will still be named as an all-star replacement, but wouldn’t be awarded the bonus.
In his sixth NBA season, the 26-year-old center is averaging 15 points and 12.8 rebounds per game, while shooting a league-leading 65 percent from the field. According to basketball-reference.com, Gobert is tied with the Rockets' James Harden for the league lead in win shares, with 9. Win shares is a stat that estimates how many wins a player is worth to their team.
The video of Gobert starting to cry spread throughout NBA Twitter, resulting in a range of reactions.
Another player absent from the All-Star Game, Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, also a former defensive player of the year and three-time all-star, appeared to take a shot at Gobert via Twitter. Andre Iguodala, Green’s teammate, chimed in, too:
Gobert’s teammate Ricky Rubio appeared to stand up for him:
Portland Trail Blazers wing Evan Turner appeared to surmise Gobert missing out on the $1 million might have been to blame:
While Gobert has become accustomed to what he refers to as disrespect — he wears the number 27 as a reminder of where he was taken in the 2013 draft — the defensive anchor said his main source of frustration was related to the message that leaving him off the team was sending.
“It’s frustrating, not only for me but for a lot of kids and the game in general. All the kids that are watching, you’re basically telling them that defense doesn’t matter that winning doesn’t matter,” Gobert said. “I don’t know where it’s gonna be in 10 years. It might end up being just a big old playground and it’s gonna be fun but the real essence of competition is fading away.”