Brian O’Donnell’s three young boys recently had a brush with greatness that left his sons and an NBA superstar affected.
On March 19th, Brian and his three boys (Brady, 14; Blake, 12; and Luke,9) went to see the Bucks and their favorite player, Giannis Antetokounmpo play against the Timberwolves in Minneapolis. The O’Donnell’s live in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It was about a four-hour road trip each direction.
“We saved for a special family trip,” Brian told me. “We were super excited.”
Giannis didn’t play in that March game as he rested his sore knee.
The O’Donnell’s were understandably disappointed that Antetokounmpo didn’t play. But what happened at the team hotel was something they will remember for a very long time.
The O’Donnell’s stayed at the same hotel as the Bucks. As they waited in the lobby, Antetokounmpo and his teammates wandered in. Antetokounmpo spotted the three boys and waved them over. What Antetokounmpo didn’t know was that the boys had a surprise for him.
“The boys had seen Giannis telling dad jokes on TV. The wanted to get HIM something. People always ask him for things like shoes and jerseys. We wanted him to have something, so we bought him a “Dad Joke” book, ” Brian told me over the phone. “As he met my boys, they gave him the book. He smiled big and seemed really appreciative.”
The meeting was quick; maybe ten or 15 seconds. But the story didn’t end there.
Ten days later after the Bucks defeated the 76ers, Antetokounmpo went to the podium with the book from the O’Donnell’s. And he read one of their jokes.
“It’s so great to cheer for a superstar who has such a good heart,” Brian told me. “It’s fun to have a leader who is also fun and friendly and a good guy.”
A chance meeting, a joke book bought on Amazon, and a connection between an NBA superstar and three boys who look up to him.