Inside Rob Gronkowski's Retirement Party at FanDuel Sportsbook
Carl Carchia | 6 mins
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Whether it lasts this time or not, no one throws a
retirement party like Gronk – make that the Gronks.
Rob Gronkowski and his family – Dad, Gordie, brother Gordie Jr., mom Diane, Gronk's model girlfriend Camille Kostek and friends (brothers Dan, Chris and Glenn weren't visible) shut down Mohegan Sun's FanDuel Sportsbook in Uncasville, CT on Saturday.
Yes, the Gronks did what only Gronks can do – put a halt to the white-hot, ever-expanding business of sports betting. No bets were taken at windows during the two-hour celebration of the four-time Super Bowl champion's career.
Bets on his future? Those are off the board, too. He swears this is it, even though “Tom’s called me like five times.” That's in addition to Brady’s most recent attempt to lure him out of retirement via Twitter.
While Brady was likely tucked in bed in his Brady brand boxer briefs at 9 p.m. in anticipation of the Bucs' Week 1 matchup against the Cowboys, Gronk was - being Gronk.
RELATED: FanDuel Sportsbook Review: A Wild NFL Week 1 at Mohegan Sun
Happy Retirement, Gronk … Again
Gronk's cake, a tiered fondant with 500 cupcakes around it, said it all: “Happy retirement, Again, Rob Gronkowski.” Yes, both those statements are true. Gronk is always happy. And there might always be another retirement.
Although, maybe, just maybe, this was a legit retirement party.
The future Hall of Famer said his mind and body didn’t feel like he should be preparing to play a game despite what the calendar says.
Time will tell if this is really it for Gronk. Either way, it was a hell of a bash. FanDuel Sportsbook General Manager Brad Bryant summed it up best: “This is just about having a good time. Can’t worry about that (Gronk coming back). If that happens, we’ll do another one.”
And who’s going to say no to another Gronk party? Heck, my ears are still ringing as I write this after 120 minutes of hits from DJ Whoo Kid, whose popularity and fame spawned from his start as 50 Cent’s DJ in the early 2000s. My glasses are still foggy from the champagne sprayed by Gronk and Gordie Jr.
And while Gronk is seemingly never angry, I had to ask him what grinds his gears. The answer: "Being lied to!" He stuck his finger in my face enthusiastically, almost causing me to flinch. Gronk energy on full display. What pisses him off on a day-to-day basis? "My dog waking me up early!" See, Gronk is more like the rest of us than we think!
Ball So Hard
It all started at 9 p.m. ET, when roughly 300 people slowly poured into the 11,000 square-foot FanDuel Sportsbook, which features a stunning 140-foot LED screen (“the biggest on the East coast,” says PR man Cody Chapman).
The fans entered, appropriately enough, to the hook "Ball So Hard ..." from Jay-Z and Kanye West. An argument can be made that no offensive skill player in NFL history balled as hard as Gronk. Few have partied as hard, either.
After a short photo session on the red carpet, Gronk and his family and friends made their way to the elevated roped-off area in the center of the sportsbook. There they drank and danced to “Mo Money, Mo Problems," “Poison” and Rod Stewart's "If You Think I'm Sexy."
Photo Credit: Muggle Photography
There was a highlight reel of Gronk's career played on the enormous video wall and huge roars when the NFL Network anchor rattled off his career accomplishments.
Gronk signed autographs and tossed a football back and forth with fans. Then, things started to get rowdy as Gronk and Gordie Jr. (at the behest of Whoo Kid) sprayed bottles of champagne on the crowd in front of them, to the delight of many.
Soon, Gronk headed upstairs to the VIP section to mingle with people who likely paid a little more than the $75 entrance fee to get closer to the four-time All-Pro. Just like that, the energy was sapped from the lower level.
Gronk came back downstairs about 20 minutes later (a huge crowd formed around him as he made his way back to the roped-off VIP area; it was like he was a wrestler walking to the ring). Suddenly the party was back on. That’s the Gronk effect.
Also the Gronk effect? The fee. It’s unlikely many people would pay $75 to attend Julian Edelman’s retirement party, for example. But they got their money’s worth.
Photo Credit: Muggle Photography
Gronk was more than accommodating and the gift bag was pretty cool (a t-shirt, a shot glass, 25% off Tommy Bahama and a cooler cup). The appetizers were great: Lobster rolls and mini-Italian grinders, among other options. Beer was about $8 (a little high but, hey, it’s a casino).
Everyone got a glass of Luc Belaire champagne and there were buckets of Body Armor (the strawberry banana was very good) and Monster energy drinks. The music was top notch and, of course, that wasn’t the end of it.
A little before 11 p.m., Gronk suddenly made his way out of the sportsbook and onto the casino floor, high-fiving fans (there was very little security surrounding him and Gronk couldn't care less).
Where was he going? Wherever he wanted to – he’s Gronk. Everyone soon found out that was a signal the party was winding down. Gronk was headed to the planned after party at club Avalon. Shortly after that, DJ Whoo Kid snapped shut his laptop and the music stopped.
As for the after party at Avalon? You’ll have to ask someone who was there. This writer doesn’t party like a Gronk anymore. I'll catch the next one.
All images courtesy of Muggle Photography