It’s a big week for Wisconsin sports birthdays, starting Monday, when the three titans of the state’s pro sports scene celebrate their birthday within a five-day window.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers turns 36 on Monday, December 2. On December 5, Brewers MVP outfielder Christian Yelich turns 28. And on December 6, Bucks star and reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo turns 25.
To add a dash of Badgers into the equation, it should be noted that UW head men’s basketball coach Greg Gard celebrates a birthday on December 3. He’ll turn 49.
It's been a pretty amazing year for that foursome. Rodgers has helped lead the Packers to 9-3 in the 2019 season following a disappointing 2018. Yelich improved upon the numbers he racked up in his MVP season in 2018. He took second in the NL MVP voting this year and led the Brewers back to the playoffs for a second straight year. Antetokounmpo won the aforementioned MVP, led Milwaukee to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2001, and the Bucks are off to the best start in the Eastern Conference in 2019-20. Gard's Badgers got back to the NCAA Tournament in 2019 after a year away, and though the new season has had its early bumps, he did oversee commitments from a huge recruiting class for 2020-21.
Here’s a look at their best games on their birthdays:
Aaron Rodgers (Dec. 2)
Last year, the birthday was an unceremonious one, when the Packers lost to the Cardinals at Lambeau Field, 20-17, and coach Mike McCarthy was fired in the aftermath.
Rodgers has only played a Packers game on his birthday once before. In a win over the Vikings on Dec. 2, 2012, Rodgers completed 27 of 35 passes for 287 yards, a touchdown and interception as Green Bay took down the Vikings, 23-14.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Dec. 6)
Giannis will have a big battle on his birthday this year, when the Los Angeles Clippers come to Fiserv Forum for the Friday night clash. The Bucks won the first meeting in what many preseason prognosticators pegged as a potential NBA Finals preview, but LA's two stars, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, both missed the game.
Two years ago, the Bucks met the Pistons on Giannis's 23rd birthday, and he finished with 25 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and a steal in Milwaukee’s 104-100 win. The only other time he played with the Bucks on his birthday came in his rookie year, when he scored 6 points in 19 minutes in 2013 against the Wizards.
Christian Yelich (Dec. 5)
Obviously, Yelich doesn’t get a chance to play baseball on his birthday, so let’s look at his half-birthday, on June 5.
He went 1 for 4 against Cleveland two years ago and 1 for 3 against Miami in 2019. In his career, Yelich is 4 for 23 on his half-birthday.
Greg Gard (Dec. 3)
Bucky defeated Rutgers last year on Dec. 3, 69-64.