Yesterday afternoon in Milwaukee, after the Bucks evened its playoff series with the Boston Celtics at two games apiece, Giannis Antetokounmpo did what every other Wisconsinite was doing: getting out to enjoy the weather.
He ended up heading to BelAir Cantina, a Milwaukee restaurant with a number of locations that recently opened an outpost in Madison. This particular MKE location has a large patio on the river, and he probably thought about hanging out on there. But so did every other Milwaukeean, because it was crowded.
So instead of eating fusion tacos in the sunshine, what he got was ignored. According to @MoSokahne on Twitter, Giannis stood near the entrance for about 10 minutes, waiting to be acknowledged by the staff. Then, he decided to leave.
At @BelAirCantina on water street and just watched @Giannis_An34 wait for a table for 10 minutes and no one helped him so he left… Dude just won Milwaukee a playoff game! Get him some service pic.twitter.com/hcjsJfThiA
— Morgan (@MoSokanhe) April 22, 2018
Let’s recap: He went into a restaurant, all 6’11” super recognizable him, and was apparently ignored by the staff, so he left after a few minutes. That’s it. He didn’t complain, he didn’t make a scene or demand special treatment.
But, naturally, as things go on the internet, this whole thing has been blown out of proportion. Any news story about the incident has plenty of comments that invariably include calls to boycott the restaurant and protest outside it because they didn’t give a black man special treatment, to calling Giannis spoiled and entitled.
I’m going to guess that this scenario has happened to all of us. You walk into a busy restaurant, and you feel invisible. Restaurants have hosts for a reason: to acknowledge customers as they come in (among plenty of other duties). So, did BelAir screw up? In that regard, yes. Ten minutes of non-acknowledgment is pretty brutal. But they certainly didn’t need to treat him in any special way because he’s Giannis. And it didn’t seem that Giannis thought so either.
Still, BelAir released a statement on social media last night, apologizing to mitigate any negative publicity this incident could cause.
And Giannis’ reaction to this whole thing? Chill out. He deletes his social media accounts during the playoffs, but his girlfriend Mariah Riddlesprigger tweeted on his behalf.
— Mariah Danae (@mariahdanae15) April 23, 2018
And for those of you wondering, Giannis ended up eating at DiModa, a restaurant just down the street. It’s not uncommon for the players on this Bucks team to hit up local restaurants, which only makes them more endearing.