MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson has invited the hosts of ESPN's "First Take" to Milwaukee for the NBA playoffs after last year's "terrible city" comments.
Mayor Johnson started his video, which aired on ESPN Monday morning, by calling out the hosts, Stephen A. Smith, Molly Qerim and Kendrick Perkins, for last year's viral comments, when the hosts made it clear they did not want to host the show in Milwaukee for the NBA Finals.
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"You don't know what you're missing. This is a great city. We are home to the NBA world champion Milwaukee Bucks, the defending world champion Milwaukee Bucks," Mayor Johnson said in a video to the hosts.
Mayor @CavalierJohnson sent over Milwaukee's finest goods to @FirstTake with an open invitation to visit.— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) April 18, 2022
You're welcome anytime @stephenasmith, @KendrickPerkins, & @MollyQerim!! pic.twitter.com/7Z15WvM08c
"Steven A., Molly, Kendrick, you had some harsh words about my city last year and you were wrong about Milwaukee. You saw the large crowds in front of Fiserv Forum during the NBA Finals. Milwaukee is an enthusiastic sports town. We also are a city with a wonderful quality of life, a beautiful lakefront, great restaurants and museums. We are a city that loves to celebrate. We'll celebrate almost anything in Milwaukee, so bring First Take to Milwaukee and we'll celebrate that too. Bucks in six. Go Milwaukee Bucks."
In response to Mayor Johnson's video, First Take showcased the Milwaukee-themed gift baskets Mayor Johnson sent them. Qerim presented the items, which included Fear the Deer wine, Milwaukee popcorn, a lot of cheese, dark chocolate with sea salt, sausage, bratwurst, Bucks t-shirts, and a handwritten letter.
Overall, the hosts had fun with the segment, while not quite admitting that they were actually hating on our fair city.
"In all seriousness, we didn't talk about the city of Milwaukee in that way," Smith said. "It was cold. I don't like the cold and I don't like the fact that your room service closed at 7 p.m. I'm fully aware that you have nice restaurants. I know plenty of people that have friends. One of my best friends in the world is a guy by the name of Gary D. Howard, who was the former Executive Sports Editor for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for more than a decade. So the point is, I got a lot of friends in Milwaukee....It's a great city, great fan base, great restaurants, okay, great people, and you have a great superstar. Giannis Antetokounmpo personifies everything we want our superstars to be on and off the court. It's just too damn cold most of the year and I'm not apologizing for that Mr. Mayor."
Perkins also chimed in, saying Mayor Johnson won him over.
"The way they won me over is by sending food," Perkins said. "I will say this. I'm a bit intimidated by Mayor Johnson's speech. When someone calls me Kendrick, I start to back the hell up. The only person who calls me that is my wife when she mad at me. So, when I hear the word 'Kendrick' and not Perk or Big Perk or Big Fella or Uncle Perk, I start to get worried. You know what? You got this one, Mayor Johnson. You got it, my brother. If you say Milwaukee is a beautiful place, just take me fishing. I'm cool with you."
But Smith had one more complaint: The hot dogs.
"I remember when we were at the arena, I wasn't satisfied with their hot dogs," Smith said."I want some all-beef hot dogs and they didn't have sauerkraut. Mayor Johnson, you didn't have sauerkraut."
You can watch the full ESPN First Take clip on YouTube by clicking HERE.