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Milwaukee VA Medical Center

 

Bucks serve up home cooking

Bucks players and Veterans at the dinner table

Dinner was accompanied by a lively, engaging - but unpretentious - conversation between the players, Bucks staff and Veterans.

By Jim Hoehn
Friday, November 16, 2018

With a hot start in the new Fiserv Forum, the Milwaukee Bucks are enjoying an early season stretch of home cooking.

And, they shared both the basketball and culinary side of that with a group of Veterans at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center.

Bucks players Brook Lopez and Donte DiVincenzo helped prepare a spaghetti dinner and enjoyed an animated evening meal on Tuesday with Veterans at Milwaukee VA’s Transition Residence House as part of the Bucks Hoops for Troops Week.

On Wednesday, 10 Veterans from the Milwaukee VA were among a group of 80 service members who held a giant American flag across the court during the national anthem before the Bucks game against the Memphis Grizzlies.

About 500 active service members and Veterans attended the game, which also included a pregame Oath of Enlistment ceremony for 30 individuals. Twenty-five percent of the proceeds from the 50-50 raffle at the game were donated to the Milwaukee VA.

“Donte and I just had the best time,” said Lopez, an 11-year NBA veteran in his first season with the Bucks. “It was a great night. Everyone here was just so welcoming. It was great to come in and just get to talk to them and really get to know them.”

Bucks player Brook Lopez serves dinner

Bucks player Brook Lopez serves spaghetti, along with a big smile.

Lopez then opted for a heated board game battle with several Veterans before dinner, while DiVincenzo, the Bucks first-round draft choice in 2018 out of Villanova, was working in the kitchen.

Dinner was a loud, animated affair with each player being peppered with questions.

“What’s Giannis like?” someone asked of the Bucks young superstar, Giannis Antetokounmpo.

“Is your brother your biggest rival?” another asked of the 7-foot Lopez, whose twin brother Robin plays for the Chicago Bulls.

“It was boisterous,” Lopez said. “Laughing, loud, boisterous. I think that just goes to show that everyone was really enjoying themselves, having a good time. It was very natural. It was fantastic.”

Todd Kile, 49-year-old Air Force Veteran, who showed the visitors around the house, said the entire evening was enjoyable.

Air Force Veteran Todd Kile showed Lopez and DiVincenzo around the house.

Air Force Veteran Todd Kile showed Lopez and DiVincenzo around the house.

“I had a great time,” said Kile, an avid sports fan. “This was a first for me. I enjoyed it a lot. We got along very well. They fit right in with all of us. We had a very nice conversation.”

“As Vets we hear so much,’ Thank you for your service,’” Kile said. “But, we thank the Bucks for their support, we thank the community for their support. I don’t know if people realize it, but we’re just as thankful for their support of us.”

Both Lopez and DiVincenzo said it was nice to meet the Veterans on their turf, as opposed to at a basketball game or fan event.

“Obviously, you have an idea, but it’s something completely different to come in here and get to know each and every one of them on a personal level, and get to have that interaction and talk to them for a couple of hours,” Lopez said. “I hope they enjoyed because both Donte and I had the best time.”


Photo Gallery - View more photos on Bucks players Brook Lopez and Donte DiVincenzo enjoying dinner with Veterans in our flickr album

More Coverage

Bucks vs. Grizzlies


Ten Veterans from the Milwaukee VA were among a group of 80 service members who held a giant American flag across the court during the national anthem before the Bucks game against the Memphis Grizzlies.


Bucks practice


Army Reservist Enrique Talavera (black warm-up), who works at the Milwaukee VA, and Army Veteran Brian Watson were among 10 active military members and Veterans chosen to attend Bucks practice, meet the players and even do a little rebounding in the shoot-around.


Bucks Photo Gallery - Donte And Brook Tip Off Hoops For Troops Week At VA

Bucks Video - Hoops For Troops Dinner with Brook Lopez and Donte DiVincenzo

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