NBA player Rudy Gobert recently penned an essay about how the racial discrimination he faced within his family at a young age due to being a product of an interracial relationship and how it fueled his purpose.

In the nearly 3,000-word essay for The Players’ Tribune, the Minnesota Timberwolves center got candid about an incident that involved him and his mother right before Christmas when he was just a baby.

“It’s a painful memory, but one that I need to share,” he wrote early on in the essay.

Born to a white mother and Black father, his parents met in France while his dad was playing international basketball for the country. When he was two years old, his father decided to leave the U.S. and go back to Guadeloupe so he was solely raised by his mom.

One of the first instances he unknowingly faced around Christmas time was when his mother’s relatives ostracized and did not welcome him.

“After I was born, certain relatives made it very clear to her that she wasn’t welcome to come to Christmas dinner if she brought me along,” he said.

In turn, Gobert’s mom decided to reject abiding by those roles and chose him over her relatives, which was a tough decision.

“She was devastated,” he wrote. “And obviously, she spent Christmas with me instead. She told them, ‘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.'”


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The two became inseparable, and his mom did everything in her power to ensure he had the best upbringing with what she could afford. He recalled one Christmas in elementary when he had to pick his gift at a charity event, which stuck with him and pushed him to change the trajectory of their lives.

“That’s when I started to realize what my life back then was like compared to other kids, and having that feeling of happiness, mixed with sadness, mixed with hunger…. As I was playing with this new toy, I remembered thinking ‘One day, we won’t have to worry about anything,'” he wrote.

Shortly after learning basketball at 12 years old, he was offered a chance to participate in an academy’s basketing program. Although he would be gone Monday through Friday, his mom supported his decision to attend because he would be chasing a dream of his and a better chance at making it a reality.

“At the time, all she told me was, ‘Go after your dreams. I’ll be fine,'” he said.

Gobert’s mom was right because their life changed following him being picked by the Utah Jazz in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft.

“I had an iron belief. Not necessarily that I was going to play in the NBA,” he wrote in his essay for The Players’ Tribune. “But that I was going to be successful — whatever that meant for me. Science, law, accounting, whatever. It didn’t matter. I was going to make it. For us.”