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Pacers rookie Bennedict Mathurin: ‘I have no choice but to be great’

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Pacers rookie Bennedict Mathurin - 'I have no choice but to be great'
USA Today Network

Indiana Pacers rookie Bennedict Mathurin wants to become one of the greatest players in NBA history, but he also wants to achieve his goal of being an influential role model for his community.

“I feel like I have no choice but to be great,” the Pacers guard told Bob Kravitz of The Athletic. “A lot of people play a sport because they have a talent, but I play for a different reason. I want to be one of the greatest players ever. I want to influence the kids [back in Montreal] to believe in themselves.

“Where I grew up [in the impoverished Montreal-Nord, Quebec, neighborhood], a lot of kids make bad decisions because they never got the chance to be around people who want the best for them. I want to give them motivation. And I want to take care of my family. I made that promise to myself when I was very young. I have no choice. That’s the way it is.”

Based on a few NBA betting sites, the Pacers have the seventh-lowest odds to win the championship in 2023. Though, some sportsbooks are not ruling out a potential playoff appearance.

Mathurin was selected sixth overall by the Pacers in this year’s draft. Through his first 28 games of his NBA career, the Canadian guard is well on his way to inspire others.

Pacers rookie Bennedict Mathurin believes he has no choice but to be great in order to help change lives

With Indiana, the University of Arizona product is averaging 17.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. He’s also shooting 41.5% from the field and 34.9% beyond 3-point range.

In Indiana’s 124-109 win against the Chicago Bulls on Oct. 26, the guard became the first rookie in Pacers franchise history to score 100-plus points through five career games.

Three days later, in the Pacers’ 125-116 win over the Brooklyn Nets, the rookie scored a career-high 32 points in 34 minutes played. He finished 8-of-16 (50%) shooting from the floor and sank six 3-pointers.

“Growing up wasn’t easy,” added the Pacers guard. “I told myself as a kid, especially after my brother died, ‘When I grow up, I’m going to provide for my family.’ I always knew since I was a young kid what I wanted.”

When Mathurin was 12, his 15-year-old brother, Dominique, died in a bicycle accident.

In 2018, Mathurin became the first Canadian-born player to join the NBA Academy Latin America in Mexico City. North Pole Hoops marked the Montreal native as the best Canadian prospect in his class.

Pacers fans love him and will continue to show their support. That’s the bottom line. There are likely millions of supporters across the world that Bennedict Mathurin has already inspired since his college days.

James is a Basketball Insiders contributor. He earned his bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. James enjoys watching sports and helping gamblers win money.

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