Auburn University basketball player Johni Broome met one of his favorite actors in the most unexpected ways during a recent matchup against Ole Miss.
In a clip from the Feb. 3 game, which has been heavily circulated amongst sports fans on X, the 21-year-old is observed attempting to swat away the hand of a suspected rival fan, only to realize it was Morgan Freeman tugging on his jersey.
Broome was near the sideline when the incident occurred. Freeman and a woman seated next to him both reached out their hands to prevent the athlete from tumbling back onto them after Broome saved the basketball from going out of bounds.
Upon turning around to put eyes on his seeming hecklers, the player realized it was the Academy Award winner he had struck.
“Bro heard Mr. Clark voice and straightened up lmaoooo,” wrote an X user making a gif over the actor’s 1989 film “Lean on Me,” where he portrayed a no-nonsense teacher who gains the respect of students at a low-performing high school in New Jersey.
Another person posted, “Bro turned around and saw god.” Freeman famously played God in “Bruce Almighty” and “Evan Almighty” and most recently appeared in National Geographic’s miniseries “The Story of God,” which saw him retrace the origins of the omnipresent religious figure.
The 86-year-old is reportedly a familiar face at Ole Miss games, having been a supporter of the men’s team in recent years. His presence did not prove much of a good luck charm on Saturday, with the Tigers walking away victorious with a final score of 91-77.
He didn’t realise it was Morgan Freeman😳 pic.twitter.com/IAl46bViSB
— FadeHubb (@FadeHubb) February 5, 2024
“I thought it was an Ole Miss fan like just grabbing my jersey, like, holding on to me, and I kind of just got a hand off and I saw who it was,” Broome told reporters in a postgame interview. “I’m a big movie guy. I probably watched one of his movies on the plane coming here. But I realized it was him and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m a big fan. I’m sorry.’ And he just said, ‘Just keep playing.’”
He doubled back with a second apology before the game ended and, again, received a similar response from the entertainer. “He said, ‘You all good. Just keep playing.’ He’s a very good guy. Love him,” said the standout athlete.
But not everyone is a fan of Broome’s kind gesture. “I don’t care who he is, that was a perfectly reasonable reaction to someone grabbing your shirt,” wrote one person. Another critic took aim at his sportsmanship with a comment that read, “Idk how I feel about this. If you reacted a certain way it shouldn’t matter who it is to then be apologetic about it.”
Freeman looked to be in great spirits, as noted by his supporters who expressed concern over his health when images of him in New York surfaced in December. In addition to claims that he appeared frail, were comments that suggested the “Glory” actor was simply … aging.