Rudy Gobert Discusses Feeling Unwelcome Among Family Due to Personal Identity

Exploring the personal challenges of NBA star Rudy Gobert.

by Faizan Chaudhary
Rudy Gobert Discusses Feeling Unwelcome Among Family Due to Personal Identity
© Harry How/GettyImages

Minnesota Timberwolves' center Rudy Gobert, known for his towering presence and defensive prowess on the basketball court, often faces misunderstanding and criticism from both media pundits and fellow NBA players. But beneath the professional veneer lies a personal history marked by challenges and resilience, which Gobert recently revealed in an introspective article for The Player's Tribune.

Born in Saint-Quentin, France, Gobert is the son of Rudy Bourgarel, a Black professional basketball player, and Corinne Gobert, who is white. His parents parted ways when he was just three, and Gobert was raised by his mother in a mixed-race family.

His upbringing, however, was not without its hardships, particularly from some members of his extended family. During family gatherings such as Christmas, while his mother's other children were welcomed, Gobert was not. "We don't want that baby in our house," were the harsh words he remembers from his relatives, emphasizing the exclusion he faced due to his racial identity.

This discrimination extended so far that his relatives told his mother she could attend family functions only if she came without him.

Mother's Unyielding Support

Despite these painful experiences, Gobert's mother, Corinne, stood as his unwavering protector, ensuring he never felt like an outsider within his own family.

She responded to the prejudice by severing ties with those who rejected her son, stating, "If that's the way you think, then you're not going to see me anymore. Not at Christmas. Not ever. I don't want anything to do with you." Her actions exemplified the protective love she had for her children, ensuring they always felt supported and valued.

Gobert's journey to NBA stardom was built on a foundation laid by his mother's sacrifices and support. Despite financial difficulties, she provided for her children and shielded them from the negativity they faced. "From day one, before I could protect myself, my mom was protecting me," Gobert reflects.

His gratitude for his mother's efforts is profound, as she was instrumental in nurturing the qualities that would eventually earn him accolades such as three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Today, despite critiques from figures like media personality Skip Bayless, who has labeled him a "fake tough guy," and NBA legend Paul Pierce, who suggested that he isn't feared by other players, Gobert's resilience both on and off the court tells a story of a man shaped by adversity into a figure of strength and determination.

His narrative is a powerful reminder of the impact of family support and the profound ways it can shape one's path to success.

Rudy Gobert