On Friday night at an event called “The Giant of Africa,” the Toronto Raptors honored the late Nelson Mandela. It was the first anniversary of his death and the South African president and human rights icon was celebrated throughout their game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, with everything from special warm-up gear to videos throughout the night.
Someone should have probably given Torotno Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier a quick primer on Mandela, because when he was interviewed about Mandela, it got awkward. Like “crawl under the covers and never leave ever again” awkward.
Here’s the transcript from Reddit:
Reporter1 (SportsNet mic): Alright Jonathan, how important is, uh, the legacy of Nelson Mandela to you?
JB: Well obviously he’s been, uh, a tremendous, uh, athlete and you know obviously what, uh, he means to all the sports you know when you know the worl- the world can uh be changed by the sports it’s pretty amazing. And I think he’s definitely uh got a lot of respect in every sports and uh he’s definitely one of the athletes I watched growing up as well.
Reporter1’s mic disappears from frame
Reporter2: Why is it important for you to come show support tonight?
JB: Well I think any good cause is, uh, sorry (he’s apologizing to someone to the left of the screen, not sure who/why), it’s always, uh, you know I love supporting, uh, any kind of cause obviously it’s for the Afri-, in Africa it’s obviously it’s, uh, a great cause, and enjoying, I guess, the basketball game.
Nelson Mandela could dunk with the ferocity of Shaq, don’t you remember?
Though Mandela actually was a pretty decent athlete – he was an amateur boxer – that clearly wasn’t why he’s remembered the way he is. Maybe Bernier thought he was being asked about a star athlete at the event, such as Magic Johnson or Charles Barkley, even though the question was clearly about Mandela.
Let this be a note to anyone who gets interviewed about something they know nothing about: do not try to BS your way through it. It’ll end up like this.