May 11, 2010
Remember that time Brandon Jennings(notes) played a year of basketball in Italy? Sure you do, it happened last year and it got brought up every Milwaukee Bucks playoff game this postseason. Playing overseas was a grand experiment that worked out pretty well for Jennings in the end. Not only did he "eat, drink and dream about basketball," he also got to enjoy everything that Italian culture has to offer. According to Jennings, it was quite the learning experience.
It's only natural to assume that three years of globetrotting — from California to Rome to Wisconsin — would lead to a little bit of culture shock. But in an interview with Jim Rome (no relation), Jennings explained why he adjusted so well to Milwaukee.
Rome: "Can you see spending your whole career in Milwaukee?"
Jennings: "Yeah, I can. I like it. It reminds me of Italy, laid-back town, small little market, and they're real big on sports."
This totally makes sense. When Jennings says Milwaukee reminds him of Italy, he means that it reminds him of how Italy is the exact opposite of Wisconsin. If you look at it that way, then this comparison is right on the money. Otherwise, huh?
It's not like I hold a doctorate in Italian historical studies, but I have seen "The Italian Job" starring Mark Wahlberg twice, and when I think of Italy, "big on sports" isn't at the top of the list. Fashion, great food, beautiful architecture and telling people to forget about it? Absolutely. Similarities to the United States' second-largest beer-maker? Not so much.
Or maybe Jennings just loves cheese and was referring to the widespread availability of several different varieties of the most delicious dairy product known to man in these two areas. It's either that or his year in Italy was a well-orchestrated hoax. I don't know about you, but I'm willing to buy Brandon Jennings as a cheese connoisseur far before I consider him an international man of mystery.