by Daniel Olsen
Small markets tend to not get much media attention. However, with the Utah Jazz playing at a historic level for the best record in the league, the one year anniversary of the postponement of the NBA season was a fitting time to take a look back on a star center who was the man in the middle of the story. This review will grade all aspects of the documentary.
The title of the film was fitting as Gobert was caught in the middle of one of the biggest global pandemics in a century. In this age, being a superstar athlete carries weight not only in the sports scene but in the media. The title also is fitting because the center position Gobert plays requires him to defend the middle of the paint down low. While it was a fitting title, it might not draw as many eyeballs to an audience outside of loyal Jazz fans. Perhaps it is too soon to call it ‘Rudy Gobert: Open Mic’ but a title like that could draw some controversy.
The main focus of the documentary was on the events since the Utah Jazz vs OKC Thunder game was cancelled in March 2020 after Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. While this was a timely theme, they could have focused a little more on how the Jazz currently have the best record in the West. They also could have expounded more on what helped the team chemistry as there was some tension between Gobert and Mitchell after they both tested positive.
Lisa Salters did a spectacular job of asking Gobert tough questions without being invasive. When she asked what he wanted people to know about touching the mics, Gobert was upfront.
“If I could go back and do things differently, I would not have done that.” Gobert said.
Local media member Sarah Todd of the Deseret News was a highlight of the documentary, and there should have been more of that. There seemed to be too much narration and not enough of Gobert talking with other news members.
The childhood home of Gobert in Saint-Quentin was humbling to watch. The opening scenery of the mountains surrounding the great Salt Lake was breathtaking. The camera then focused on Gobert. He was wearing a coat and looking down at the scenic landscape of the Salt Lake Valley. The footage of his dunk on reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo was spectacular to watch. The only complaint is that it was only a 30 minutes episode. They could have covered so much more in a one hour special like they have done for other documentaries.
While it wasn’t perfect, this was a well done documentary that ESPN carried out with the short time slot they had planned. If they could have added more, it would be an A. This deserved a better than average grade. It wasn’t worthy of the slam dunk poster Gobert gave on the Greek Freak, but it would be somewhere would be between an 8 and 9 if using the dunk analogy. The Worldwide Leader in Sports gets a B+ here. It won’t win any special award but it wasn’t a poor documentary by any means. They painted Utah and Rudy Gobert in a good light which is something that much of the national media sometimes seems reluctant to do.
Featured image via ESPN.