Gobert $500,000 pledge to aid virus relief

Utah's Rudy Gobert will donate half a million dollars to help aid those affected by the coronavirus

NBA star Rudy Gobert has pledged to donate more than $500,000 ($A809,000) in what he said was the first of "many steps" he will take to help with the coronavirus pandemic.

Gobert, who was the first NBA player to test positive for COVID-19 - a diagnosis that prompted the league to suspend its season for at least a month - said he is giving $200,000 ($A324,000) to part-time employees at the arena that plays host to Utah Jazz games to help cover their lost wages.

He also pledged $100,000 ($A162,000) each to assist families affected by the pandemic in Oklahoma City, where he was when the diagnosis came, and Utah.

He also is giving 100,000 euros ($A180,000) to relief efforts in France, earmarking that for child care assistance to health care workers as well as for caregivers to the elderly.

"I am humbled by the tireless efforts and care of people around the globe for those affected by COVID-19, especially my own communities of Utah and France, in addition to my appreciation for the state of Oklahoma and my care there, and of course, my Utah Jazz family," Gobert said in a release distributed by the Jazz.

"These donations are a small token that reflect my appreciation and support for all those impacted and are the first of many steps I will take to try and make a positive difference, while continuing to learn more about COVID-19 and educate others."

He ended his remarks with, "Much gratitude, RG."

Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell also tested positive for COVID-19.

He released a video on Saturday thanking fans for their continued support.

"It means a lot to me," Mitchell said.

"I feel fine. Things are going well. Just taking the proper precautions. As was told to me by the health authorities, I've got to stay in isolation."

Mitchell's father, New York Mets executive Donovan Mitchell Sr., was tested for COVID-19 and does not have the virus.

Toronto Raptors, who played Utah on Monday and faced both Mitchell and Gobert, said on Saturday that all members of their travel party have now been checked and all tests came back negative.

The NBA's shutdown is planned for a minimum of 30 days, meaning the earliest basketball can resume is April 10.

Gobert's financial pledge comes on the heels of several other NBA players publicly announcing similar donations to help arena workers who will be missing out on income because of no games or other events in their facilities.

New Orleans rookie Zion Williamson said Friday he would cover one month of salaries for workers at Smoothie King Arena, and NBA stars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton of the Milwaukee Bucks, Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Blake Griffin of the Detroit Pistons have all made $100,000 pledges.

Many NBA and NHL teams have said they are working to help arena employees who will be adversely affected by the shutdown.