Rudy Gobert’s Girlfriend Julia Bonilla Defends Him After Anonymous NBA Player Poll Names Him ‘Most Overrated’

Bonilla and the Minnesota Timberwolves star announced in February they're expecting a son together

Joe Scarnici/Getty Images  Rudy Gobert
Joe Scarnici/Getty Images Rudy Gobert

Rudy Gobert’s girlfriend is coming to his defense.

Gobert, 31, is a finalist for the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year Award — an award the Minnesota Timberwolves star has won a record-tying three times in his career.

But the hoops star was also at the top of another year-end list NBA players don’t want to find themselves on this week. On April 22, The Athletic released an anonymous NBA players poll that tackled questions from, “Who’s the MVP?” to “Who’s the greatest player of all time?”

Gobert’s name topped the list when 142 NBA players were asked, “Who’s the league’s most overrated player?” The Athletic reported that 13.6 percent of the players surveyed responded with Gobert. The second-highest was Washington Wizards guard Jordan Poole and third was Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young.

Gobert’s partner Julia Bonilla immediately stood up for her man on Instagram, according to TMZ.

"My partner is the most dedicated, focused, hard-working person I have ever met," Bonilla wrote in a post Monday, responding to the poll. "He hasn't stolen anything from anyone and deserves all the respect for his determination and commitment to his career."

Bonilla, who also announced in February that she and Gobert are expecting a son together, slammed the criticism against her boyfriend, writing that “it's hard for me to stay quiet in front of so much stupidity, disrespect and nonsense."

"I am so proud of the person he is -- fair, a great teammate, with a good heart and a strong mind,” Bonilla added. "I am proud of you, and our son is proud of you."

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Will Newton/Getty Images Rudy Gobert
Will Newton/Getty Images Rudy Gobert

Gobert has averaged 14 points and 12.9 rebounds per game, helping lead the Timberwolves to the NBA Playoffs. Minnesota currently leads the Phoenix Suns 1-0 in the opening round with a potential matchup against the defending NBA Champion Denver Nuggets looming in the next round.

In an ESPN story published Tuesday, the publication asked, "Why do so many players have beef with Rudy Gobert?"

Gobert opened up about often finding himself at the butt of jokes around the league — from current and former players, analysts, and broadcasters. Not to mention fans, many of whom associate Gobert with his aggressive and ignorant approach to the COVID-19 virus in March 2020, wiping his hands on reporters’ microphones the day before he tested positive for the virus, leading to the NBA dramatically shutting down the same night much of the United States began to, as well.

"Everyone is going to have a different perception and opinion of you," Gobert told The Washington Post after the incident. "If I start putting my energy into that, I’m going to be living a very painful life."

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<p>Patrick McDermott/Getty Images</p> Rudy Gobert

Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Rudy Gobert

Gobert also made headlines at the end of last season when he got into a fist fight with his Timberwolves teammate Kyle Anderson on the sideline, after Anderson called him a “b—” during a timeout.

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And he's often teased on social media by NBA star and noted antagonist Draymond Green, and was recently laughed at by the entire Los Angeles Clippers bench when he missed a free throw.

"I just think I'm just mostly misunderstood,” Gobert told ESPN. “I think I trigger a lot of these guys."

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Gobert was dismayed after being traded from the Utah Jazz to Minnesota last season, according to the report, which revealed it led him to reach out to divisive NFL star Aaron Rodgers and ask about his experience in a darkness retreat. Gobert booked his own retreat for last offseason, explaining it helped him gain insight into his own personality. He now says he’s able to find inner “inner peace” amid the backlash he’s become accustomed to around the NBA.

"As I'm getting older and all that, I'm just so happy with who I am," Gobert told the outlet. "I'm not perfect — I'm growing, learning every day — but who I am as a leader, as a man, as a basketball player is the most important thing.”

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