Rudy Gobert and the Minnesota Timberwolves are set to enter the NBA playoffs as one of the top seeds in the Western Conference.

Ahead of that exciting time for Timberwolves players and fans, Gobert penned a personal story in the Players' Tribune – and it included a shocking tale of family racism:

“It’s a painful memory, but one that I need to share. You see, every year, my mom’s side of the family had this big Christmas dinner at a certain person’s house. My mom is white. My dad is Black. He’s from Guadeloupe, and he was playing basketball professionally in France when they met. My mom already had two white children from her previous relationship, and then I came into the world….

And for some people, that was a problem.

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.

She could come on her own. But she couldn’t bring “that child.” She couldn’t bring Rudy.

She was devastated. 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.”

My mom…. What would I be without her?”

It's shocking to read about such hatred toward a child, especially coming from members of their own family. Fortunately, the Timberwolves center writes, he had a mother that loved him unconditionally:

“From day one, before I could protect myself, my mom was protecting me. The things she did for me and my siblings … it’s incredible. Financially, we didn’t have a lot. My dad went back to Guadeloupe when I was two, and my mom had to handle a lot of responsibilities. We lived in what we call HLM. Social housing. Immigrants from all different places. Lots going on, it was an interesting place. No matter what was going on, I always felt grateful and happy for everything I had. I never complained, never asked my mom for things we couldn’t afford.

One of my earliest memories is going with my mom to a little shop that this charity ran on the weekend. For whatever reason, it was a less abundant time for us, and you could get free groceries and stuff like that. During the holidays, they had a whole table of toys that were donated for all the kids.

My mom told me that I could pick anything I wanted for my Christmas gift. I remember choosing this really cool toy, and I was maybe six or seven years old. 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.”'

Rudy Gobert and the Timberwolves in the playoffs

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (5) and center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) and center Rudy Gobert (27) battle for control of the rebound against the Dallas Mavericks during the first quarter at the American Airlines Center.
© Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Timberwolves have a tough matchup in the first round of the playoffs. Gobert, Anthony Edwards, and Karl-Anthony Towns will be taking on Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns.

Phoenix is 3-0 against Minnesota this season, with all three games ending in double-digit point differences. Looking at the clashes, the Timberwolves seem to have difficulty containing the Suns' offense.

The Timberwolves boast a 108.4 defensive rating — the best in the entire league. Out of all the teams, Minnesota allows the fewest opponent points per game (106.5) and the least opponent field goals per game (39.0). The Timberwolves are also top 10 in steals per game (6th, 7.9 SPG) and blocks per game (5th, 6.1 BPG). Their towering frontline of Towns and Rudy Gobert is the reason why the team gives up the fourth-fewest opponent second-chance points (12.7) and the second-least opponent points in the paint (46.1).

It's going to be a fun series.