Sam Dekker is a pretty popular guy in Wisconsin. It’s hard not to be when you do things like this and this. But one of the coolest stories out there right now is his relationship with the most popular man in Wisconsin, Aaron Rodgers.
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Rodgers – who you might know as the two-time MVP quarterback of the Green Bay Packers – is a self-professed huge fan of the Wisconsin Badgers, and has followed the team on their NCAA tournament runs the past two seasons.
And while Rodgers has supported this team throughout, he’s been a big influence on one Badger in particular – Sam Dekker.
Dekker, speaking on the ESPN radio show SVP and Russillo Friday, March 27 after the Badgers win over North Carolina in the Sweet Sixteen, told hosts Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo that Rodgers has been an important person in his life.
"“Aaron’s a good guy, you know, one of the most important people I’ve actually had in my circle.”"
Dekker said Rodgers is always there to lend an ear or offer positive reinforcement, even after a tough game.
"“After, I think, every game this year he’s texted me about, if I play bad, ‘keep your head up,’ or, ‘work on this,’ or if I play well it’s, ‘keep it up, enjoy, stay the course,’ so when you have a guy like that who can be a friend to you, always be there, it’s pretty cool, and I don’t want to take that for granted.”"
Despite Rodgers’ high profile, Dekker said Rodgers is just one of the guys when they talk after games, not the quarterback he watches on Sundays.
"“When I see him on TV, watch him, see him on SportsCenter, I don’t see him as the guy I know, I look at him like a fanboy, like ‘oh my go, that’s Aaron,’ because you’re in awe of what he can do on the field. But then when you’re talking to him or hanging with him or texting him, it’s just a normal dude, you don’t think of the football aspect, you just think of a guy that’s cool with you.”"
But, as Dekker said, it doesn’t escape him that he’s pals with the NFL’s best player.
"“If you step back and look at it, it’s pretty cool I guess.”"
Andy North, a Wisconsin native two-time US Open Golf champion and – as Scott Van Pelt dubbed him – the “King of Madison” also talked about Rodgers and Dekker on SVP and Russillo March 27.
As North said, Rodgers has been instrumental for Dekker.
"“He’s been really helpful for Sam. Sam’s a terrific talent and an unbelievable young guy, and Aaron has been really great with him.”"
North, who is likely the biggest Badgers superfan out there – he attends almost every single practice and game – said Rodgers has been accepted by the whole team, despite an obvious tension between him and a large portion of the squad.
"“He is very invested, and it’s really interesting when half the guys are (Chicago) Bears fans, it’s really hard for some of the Illinois guys to embrace Aaron, but they’ve done that and they really respect him.”"
As North said, Rodgers is just a kid at heart who loves to watch basketball games and root on his state’s school.
"“He just enjoys watching them and he loves going to games. Aaron’s a kid, he loves going to games, no matter what they are. He got hooked into our guys a year or two ago, and really likes these guys.”"
And the look on Rodgers’ face when Dekker knocked down the game-sealing three against Arizona was a priceless look of pure joy. It’s obvious Rodgers is just having a good time backing his boys.
Hopefully that isn’t the last time the cameras will pan to Rodgers for a happy reaction shot.