Today's Birthday 26/6

Callum Godde
NBA All-Star Rudy Gobert has developed a reputation as one of the league's best defenders

Today's Birthday, June 26: French basketballer Rudy Gobert (1992 - )

Rudy Gobert's foolish prank sensationally backfired when he became the first NBA player to test positive for coronavirus.

The Utah Jazz All-Star touched every microphone and recorder at the end of a press conference on March 9.

Three days later the Frenchman returned a positive COVID-19 test, prompting the last-minute cancellation of the Jazz's match with the Oklahoma City Thunder and suspension of the 2019-20 NBA season.

After his diagnosis, Gobert was scorned for his behaviour and publicly apologised.

"I have gone through so many emotions since learning of my diagnosis ... mostly fear, anxiety, and embarrassment," he wrote on Instagram.

"At the time, I had no idea I was even infected. I was careless and make no excuse. I hope my story serves as a warning and causes everyone to take this seriously."

Despite his contrition, the incident could follow Gobert into the locker room when the Jazz return to training ahead of the season resuming in late July.

There have been widespread reports of a possible rift developing between him and young star Donovan Mitchell, who tested positive shortly after Gobert.

Rudy Gobert-Bourgarel was born in the commune of Saint-Quentin in northern France in 1992.

As the son of French basketball representative Rudy Bourgarel, Gobert grew up playing for his local club and then joined Cholet Basket's junior program.

He spent three seasons with the French League side before declaring for the 2013 NBA Draft and being selected by the Denver Nuggets with the 27th overall pick.

However, a draft-night trade saw him land at the Jazz.

A raw prospect, the 216cm tall centre was nursed into NBA life in his rookie year before becoming a regular starter in his second season.

The gangly shot-blocker has since developed a reputation as one of the league's best interior defenders and earned NBA Defensive Player of the Year honours in 2018 and 2019.

But Gobert found himself snubbed for NBA All-Star selection, breaking down in tears after being overlooked last season before finally being picked for this year's exhibition match.