‘Big movie guy:’ Auburn’s Johni Broome instantly regretted slapping Morgan Freeman’s hand during Ole Miss game

Playing on the road in college basketball is never easy, regardless of the opponent or conference. As the season inches closer to the most important stretch of the year, environments get tougher — and you never know who might show up sitting courtside.

Auburn forward Johni Broome did not expect legendary actor Morgan Freeman to be in the crowd when the Tigers faced Ole Miss on Saturday night, and he met the 86-year-old in a way he instantly regretted.

Broome felt someone loosely grab onto his jersey after tossing the ball across the court, and his instinct was to quickly slap the hand away. Broome entire mood changed in about a half-second when he realized it was Freeman grabbing onto him. 

The senior quickly apologized, and he made it a point to go over to Freeman during a break in the action and apologize again, shaking the actor’s hand. 

“I thought it was an Ole Miss fan just grabbing my jersey and holding onto me,” Broome told reporters after the game. “I got the hand off, then I saw who it was … I realized it was him and was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m a big fan. I’m sorry.’”

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Unsurprisingly, Freeman wasn’t bothered by Broome’s reaction. “You’re all good. Just keep playing,” Broome said he was told by Freeman.

“I’m a big movie guy. I probably watched one of his movies on the plane on the way over here,” Broome continued. That checks out, as he seemed to recognize Freeman the very moment he turned and saw whose hand he slapped away.

Broome put on a show for Freeman, posting 15 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists in an Auburn victory. On top of that, he now has a permanent connection to one of America’s most beloved actors.

Where did Morgan Freeman go to college?

Why was Freeman courtside at an Ole Miss game, anyway? While the 86-year-old didn’t attend Ole Miss, he did spend much of his childhood in Mississippi and has frequently attended Rebels sporting events over the years. 

In fact, Ole Miss’ matchup with Auburn was the second game Freeman attended in the same week. He was courtside for the Rebels’ win over Mississippi State on Tuesday.

It’s a good time for Freeman to take in some Ole Miss basketball games. While the Rebels lost to Auburn, they find themselves surprisingly in NCAA Tournament contention at 18-4 under new head coach Chris Beard. Ole Miss won’t meet Broome and the Tigers again in the regular season, but perhaps Freeman could find his way to Nashville for the Rebels’ SEC Tournament run in March. 

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