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Our 10 Favorite Things We Learned About Rob Gronkowski From SI’s Profile
Before the Olympics turned this into the Summer of Lochte, these last 12 months indisputably constituted the Year of Gronk. Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski’s mix of devastating skill and arch-bro-ness kept him in the news pretty consistently, from posing with porn stars to taking his shirt off to eventful Aruba trips to drinking with whoever wants him to drink with them to taking his shirt off some more (while also finding time to catch an NFL-tight-end-record 17 touchdown passes), it was all Gronk, all the time for a while there.
And because he attracted so much attention, Sports Illustrated sent writer Chris Ballard to follow Gronkowski around a bit and speak to those closest to him, to give readers a picture of what Gronk’s party-filled life is really like. Ballard left with many insights – some more surprising than others, but all entertaining. This is Gronk we’re talking about, after all. The full story is here and well worth reading, but there were certain tidbits we loved so much that we couldn’t help but collect our 10 favorites below. Without further ado, our favorite aspects of what makes Gronk Gronk:
1) He gets paid five figures to go to random people’s parties.
Part of the story takes place as Ballard follows Gronkowski to a young woman’s 21st birthday party. Gronk wasn’t especially comfortable there… until he suggested a beer-shotgunning contest.
2) Rob’s dad Gordie is the ur-Gronk.
Two days before Rob landed at Logan, I met his father, Gordy, near his house in suburban Buffalo. He wore a tight white short-sleeved button-down shirt. He motioned me inside his black Ford F-150, the one with the Harley-Davidson detailing. Save for his thinning gray hair and creased forehead, Gordy could pass for the oldest Gronkowski brother. At 53, he lifts weights daily and has 18½-inch biceps. The WiFi network at his house is labeled BigG; his ringtone is the guitar riff from George Thorogood’s Bad to the Bone.
The Gronk apple fell pretty damn close to the Gronk tree, it seems.
3) Rob’s great-grandfather was an Olympic cyclist in 1924.
His name: Ignatius Gronkowski. I’m not making any of this up; it’s right here. I’m left to assume that because his name was Ignatius, his bicycle of choice was a this penny-farthing, and that his habit of doffing his top hate and twirling his handlebar moustache during races proved irresistible to both straitlaced woman and flappers.
4) Rob and brother Gordie Jr. went to Kurt Angle’s wedding.
Rob was Gordie’s plus one. Cute.
5) Rob and his siblings encouraged each other when working out exactly how you’d think.
This is where three of the boys, particularly Rob and Glenn, did much of their weight training, roaring at each other the Gronkowski training motto: “Do it to get chicks!”
6) He terrifies the Patriots by handling his own public appearances.
“Unlike most athletes of his stature, Rob coordinates most of his own appearances—with plenty of advice from Gordy—much to the chagrin of the Patriots. The naked cover shoot for ESPN the Magazine’s Body Issue, for example, surprised the team, as did most of Rob’s postseason shenanigans.”
But did it surprise them as much as that one girl’s virginity surprised Gronk?
7) His life isn’t as balls-out crazy as you might think.
“People say, ‘He’s doing way too many things,’ but [I do them] because I got nothing to do,” he said, sitting on what he calls his “chill couch” with his huge arms wrapped behind his head. “That’s why I hit up every charity event, why I hit up every party I’m invited to. If I’m just sitting at home, that’s not productive. That’s boring.”
Granted, that’s significantly more parties and charity events than most of us are invited to (and, subsequently, attend), but it all sounds pretty simple when Gronk says it, doesn’t it?
8) The Gronkowskis trademarked “Yo soy fiesta.”
9) He won’t wear his AFC championship ring because the Patriots didn’t win the Super Bowl.
Remember all that controversy after the LMFAO Super Bowl party, about whether Gronk cared enough (after he played hurt in the Super Bowl, let’s remember)? Yeah, safe to say he did.
10) Gronk just wants everyone to have a good time.
Thus, when he parties and ends up on Deadspin, he is more disappointed than angry. According to Dan, “He says, ‘Why do people have to sit there and take pictures of me? They’re not partying at all? Why wouldn’t you be dancing like I want to?’”
I’ve talked a lot about Gronk to people I know. All our feelings on him tend to be complex – more complex than the man himself seems (and, indeed, still seems, after reading Ballard’s story). Because normally, I’d be predisposed to disliking such a party-all-the-time frat boy like Gronk. But… I just can’t help but have a soft spot for the guy. And I wasn’t sure what it was, until I hit on something a while back. My observations from then, in Gchat form:
me: yeah, it’s odd
i feel like i should/normally would hate him
but his love for partying hard is just so earn[e]st
me: yeah, and it seems like all the stories i’ve heard are about him having fun rather than him being a dick to other people/ruining their good time
i think gronk would feel bad if he ruined someone else’s good time
me: also, watching [this], i realize another part of liking him is that he’s SUCH a cartoon that it nullifies the urge to hate him
me: [this is] gronk, basically
And, via that blockquoted text from Ballard’s story above, I find that my intuition that Gronk is all about everyone – not just himself – having the time of their lives was on the mark. You’re all right by me, Gronk. You’re all right.
Getty photo, by Jim Rogash
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