Despite only one NBA team in Canada, basketball is in the DNA of the North. Canada is a basketball country, from the 2019 world champion Toronto Raptors to the increasing number of players entering the NBA and WNBA. While down in Salt Lake City for the 2023 NBA All-Star game, we had a chance to sit down with Canadian rising star and Indiana Pacer Bennedict Mathurin. The 20-year-old Montreal native was selected sixth overall by the Pacers, a huge achievement for any player. Coming from humble beginnings and working hard to achieve the success he has gained both within the league and from outside. In his rookie season, Mathurin signed with adidas Basketball, further cementing his place within the culture and the game. So let’s dive into all that is Mathurin a little more below.
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First off, congratulations. It’s been a big year for you!
How does it feel to be a Canadian in the league? There aren’t that many, so it is quite an accomplishment.
It’s great, you know, I feel like it’s a great start to have, you know, Canadians in the league right now. As we have a lot more players, you know, in the league, and I feel like so like it’s just grown year after year, so it’s a great start.
How did growing up in Montreal, in Montreal North, specifically impact your overall development?
Growing up in Montreal really impacted me into who I am today. It helped me become the man I am today and shaped my vision and my perspective. It was a rough neighbourhood to live in, and I’m just trying to help the kids, you know, who are going through the same thing, trying to have a good influence.
You’ve had a big rookie year. You’re putting up numbers. You’ve got the Rising Stars game tomorrow. How do you stay focused? What drives you?
I pretty much just go down the court being myself. I love hooping, and I play every game like it’s my last game, you know. So I’m looking forward to tomorrow. To play hard and hopefully come out with a lot of wins and hopefully the championship. So just looking forward to having a lot of fun.
How is the adidas partnership going?
Great. It’s going amazingly. You know I’m blessed enough to be an adidas athlete. You know, I’m looking forward also to building relationships. Like going to different places, different countries, just trying to influence the fans, get to know different cultures and stuff like that.
I heard you have a shoe. You’re working on a shoe with them? What isn’t? What’s your influence there? What’s influencing those decisions?
To have something representing where I’m from and what drives me. To pay respect to my brother, who passed a couple of years ago. I want people to know who I am and what I want to accomplish over the next couple of years.
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You got some style. Your rookie draft outfit by Dolce & Gabbana was pretty fire. Where do you get your style inspiration from?
Pretty much I wanted to do something different, you know? I love red and black; they’re my favourite colours, so I knew I had to go with them. I wanted it in the suit and think it ended up pretty well.
Who would it be if you had the opportunity to work with a big fashion house? Who’s your dream designer collab?
To be honest, I haven’t thought about that. I haven’t thought about who I want to have a certain collab with and stuff like that. I’m open to working with anybody.
What are you listening to when you’re getting ready for the game and getting pumped up? What’s in the headphones?
I love listening to a Lil Baby, you know, Lil Baby for the pregame. I feel like it’s the only thing for me to listen to. I like Drake as well.
Well, that’s it, man. Congratulations, and good luck tomorrow.