“When you know it’s going to impact young people …”

Yop’s ambassador in the NBA, Rudy Gobert has not struggled for nothing this season on the floor of Jazz. As part of the “Change the game” scheme, the 109 successful home counters by the French hub with Utah enabled Yop to donate 54,500 euros to the Rudy’s Kids Foundation for the children of Secours Populaire. In the first part of this interview, the recent Olympic vice-champion looks back on this solidarity action but also on his childhood dreams that he had the pleasure of being able to achieve by dint of determination and will.

As part of the solidarity action “Change the game” launched last December by Yop, and the result of the partnership between the brand and the Rudy’s Kids Foundation, the cons successfully completed by Rudy Gobert at home with Utah (109) enabled Yop to donate 54,500 euros (500 euros on the other hand succeeded by “Gobzilla”) to the Rudy’s Kids Foundation and, by extension, for popular relief. The recent Olympic vice-champion with the Blues comes back for us on the pleasure of having been able to contribute to the fate of many young people. In this first part of the interview, he also evokes this constant determination that has allowed him to be there today, and to build an ever more impressive track record.

Rudy Gobert, what is your take on the “Change the game” scheme launched by Yop last December and which raised the sum of € 54,500 for the Rudy’s Kids Foundation and, by extension, for Secours Populaire?
It’s incredible ! Yop agreed to set up this device for the foundation and to help young people in need. It’s just amazing, I’m really glad we got to do it. Besides, thanks to Yop for the trust. I struggled to ensure that this sum could increase, but, in the end, € 54,500 which will go to the “friends of the world” villages and the young people who cannot go on vacation, it’s incredible. It motivates, we hope it will have a big impact on young people.

You say you struggled. Are we to understand that you were inhabited by an even more particular and more intense desire than usual to multiply the cons?
Let’s say that when you know it’s for a good cause, there is a different motivation than just the motivation of a competitor. When you know that it will impact lives, young people and that it will surely impact their future – because the goal with the Rudy’s Kid Foundation is to be able to inspire young people and to ensure that young people can tell themselves that they can be whatever they want to be. That’s why we do it and for that I thank Yop for this initiative.

Did you really have this goal of making as many blocks as possible in mind? Because we know that you do not need a lot of motivation to go counter … You will not contradict us.
Clearly the cons is one of the things I’m pretty good at. After, once again, after the games when you know that you have made four or five blocks and that that will make it possible to have a positive impact on young people, it’s a good feeling. And it makes you want to do even more the next game.

What is most difficult about this gesture against which you are so familiar to you?
That’s all. The downside is anticipation. There are cons where you have to climb very high, others a little less. Even if it is a gesture that may seem easy, you need to have good timing and good anticipation. When you hit a block it changes the momentum of the action, but it can often also change the momentum of the match because, psychologically, the player who thought he had a shot, who tries to shoot, and that ultimately , you generally counter the next action, he’ll think twice.

Gobert: “I never doubted”

Cons excepted, do you still happen to be impressed by your performance?
I always tell myself that I can do better, and so in the end of course I try to enjoy the performance, but you always make mistakes in every game, so I always try to ask myself about the things that I can improve.

If we ask a few seconds on your record: triple best NBA defender of the year, two participations in the All-Star Game, now Olympic runner-up and retained in the major five of the Olympics, and, incidentally, the best French sportsman paid, it still looks good, don’t you think?
It’s true that I would never have imagined all this eighteen years ago when I started basketball at 11 and a half, it’s true that the little one from Saint-Quentin, he never imagined all that. But here it is with the work, the passion, the determination and the help that all the people around me have given me and all the coaches that I have had and the people who have accompanied me over time, and well of course my family, anything is possible. But I was never afraid of dreaming, never afraid of having high goals, and never afraid of doing the necessary work to try to achieve them. It is a long-term job. When I look back there is a satisfaction, but I tell myself that it is only just beginning. I’m 29, but I really feel like the best is yet to come.

What do you like the most out of all the accolades mentioned above?
(He thinks for a few seconds, hesitating). What makes me the most happy already is the medal at the Olympic Games, even if it is not the gold medal. It has been a dream since childhood. As soon as I started watching the France team, I told myself that one day I would like to have this Olympic medal, and today we were able to achieve that and it will be forever. After that, what makes me proud is when I look from where I started. Very few people believed in me, I even surpassed myself. When I was little, I dreamed of going to the NBA and when I arrived in the NBA, I dreamed of going to the Olympics, and now… My goals continue to be higher and higher, it’s a source of pride and also a chance.

Did you always believe in it despite the criticisms concerning you, and this from an early age?
Yes, I have always believed in it. Plus, I always wanted to do the opposite of what people told me (laughs). And since people told me I wouldn’t make it, in the end, I worked hard to make it happen. I never lost the flame, I never doubted, I had a lot of disappointment and a lot of difficult times, but I always used those moments to come back stronger and work even harder. And I never gave up.

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