Yelich belts HR by day, meets Giannis by night

May 10th, 2019

MILWAUKEE -- There’s a fighting chance that the 17,701 fans who squeezed into Fiserv Forum on Wednesday will look back on a night spent with four MVPs of professional sports leagues, all active for in-state teams, and appreciate them having been under one roof for a raucous playoff clincher.

If that’s happened before, we would love to hear about it.

It happened Wednesday in downtown Milwaukee, where NBA MVP Award candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks to a win over the Celtics and clinched a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals. Sitting courtside was 2011 and ’14 NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers, and up in a suite filled with Milwaukee Brewers were Ryan Braun, the '11 National League MVP, and Christian Yelich, the '18 NL MVP.

(As a bonus “MVP,” there was a Heisman Trophy Award winner and College Football Hall of Famer in the house in former University of Wisconsin Badgers running back Ron Dayne.)

Yelich and Giannis met in a hallway outside the Bucks' locker room after the game, prompting Antetokounmpo to break a two-week social media silence.

“I’ve been off social media for awhile now, but I had to get on to shout out this guy,” Giannis wrote. “He was such a down to earth, great guy! Milwaukee is up and coming in the sport world!! Giannis x Christian”

What did they talk about?

“Nothing too crazy,” Yelich said Friday, before the Brewers returned to action at Wrigley Field. “Just how everything is going, their season. We’re pretty fresh off some of those similar situations and feelings and atmosphere inside the arena. Similar life situations, I guess you could say. Nothing groundbreaking. We’re really just catching up, saying what’s up.

“It was a great atmosphere. We did the doubleheader -- played our game in the morning and went there at night. It was cool. You could just feel the energy. It brought you back to the playoff atmosphere inside Miller Park. It was very similar. It’s a great sports town right now. They’re playing unbelievably well, and I’m definitely excited for their next round. It’s cool just to support fellow sports teams. There were people there from the Packers, the Brewers, showing support. I feel like that’s what it’s all about.” 

The feeling is mutual. A Giannis hype video meant to fire up the crowd aired during the Brewers’ win. Likewise, when the Bucks showed Yelich in a Giannis jersey Wednesday night (a gift from Mike Moustakas, Yelich said), the Fiserv Forum crowd went wild.

“It’s kind of like the feel of the city is that all the sports teams support each other,” Yelich said. “A couple of the Bucks guys have been out here checking it out, and the last time [the Bucks played on a free night for the Brewers], we had Packers, Bucks and us all in the same arena, which is pretty cool."

The Bucks await the winner of the Raptors-76ers series in the conference finals.