Milwaukee Buck Pat Connaughton and his childhood best friend and now business partner, Joe Stanton, return for the highly anticipated part 2. In this episode, we hear more untold childhood stories, learn why Pat turned down $2million in high school, and have a lightning round full of fan-submitted questions.
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Welcome back to the very highly anticipated part two of the episode with Pat Connaughton and Joe Stanton. First off, thank you so much to everyone who read part one and for all the feedback. Joe especially appreciated all the DMs he was getting on Instagram. Keep those coming. If you haven’t already, please subscribe to the show and write a review. That helps us out.
In this episode, they’ve got more good stories, a good baseball one and the most trouble they ever got into as kids growing up. We also talked about how Pat turned down $2 million from the Yankees in high school with some real estate questions. We go into lightning round with plenty of fan-submitted questions. Thanks again to everyone who submitted one. If yours didn’t get answered, I do apologize. We did get a lot of them. Maybe that will get PC and Joe to come back because there is plenty more to unpack here. Thanks again for reading. Let’s dive into the episode.
You got a good story from your childhood that indicated that one of you was maybe destined for the NBA and the other one is destined for the Fairfield Hockey Team. Can you go over that?
I like the way you put that. It was an insult. Did you think that was a little bit of an insult? I digress.
Tying all this question for the readers to know, it’s coming from the fact that we brought the trophy back home to the place I learned how to play basketball and Joe learned how to play floor hockey. Having it there was awesome. It brings up so many memories. We talked about the story extensively.
There are two different ones. Pick your sport. We got baseball. We were on the same little league team. My dad was the coach. In little league, you’re 9 to 12 years old. It’s our nine-year-old direction on different teams. My dad was still the coach of my team. We were the Cardinals. We were both nine years old and my dad had gotten a win. One of the teams had a turnout or something. They were going to have to dissolve one of the teams. It happened to be the Reds. Pat was on the Reds. He was their best player. My dad has got a good eye. He gives him credit for talent. He knew that PC had a good arm and would be a good player to get.
He may have known me by then too. He may have some inside information on that one.
My dad did tanking and our Cardinals team, my nine-year-old season, was awful. We were the second-worst team in the league with the worst team being the Reds. He tanked the season so he got the first overall pick of the kids who were on the Reds, who would then be entering the draft next year. That was wise of him. It worked out. We picked up Pat. Our team was very good the next year. In our eleven-year-old year, we won the town championship, which is a big deal in Arlington. Pat has won some bigger championships since but I digress.
On the mantle, the Bucks confetti would go good with the little league medal.
It was the town championship season. We were playing one of the worst teams in the league. I usually played first base. Before the game, my dad is like, “I’m going to give you the nod to pitch tonight.” I was pumped up about it. I get on the mound and proceed to walk. For the first bunch of batters, I let up a bunch of hits. It was ugly. I don’t even know if I got out of the first inning. We were losing eight to nothing already. My dad, annoyed at me, pulls me from the mound and moves me back to first base.
I do think you got through three innings. Remember there was an inning limit that you could pitch. I was only allowed to pitch through.
That might be right. We’ll give me a little bit more credit but we’re losing eight nothing when I get pulled and he puts me back to first base. We need to win the game. He brings Pat into the pitch. Pat proceeds to throw a no-hitter the rest of the game, striking out every single guy but one. He bunted it back to him and threw him out.In real estate, it's about the market, what people want and demand. Click To Tweet
He also proceeded to the plate. He was our cleanup hitter and hit three-run homers. He had all nine RBIs and we won the game 9 to 8. Thanks to his no-hitter and three home runs. That’s one of the early stages when I knew that maybe he was destined for professional sports. At the time, I thought it was baseball but ended up being basketball.
Pat, you’ve talked about this on a bunch of other podcasts you’ve been on where maybe you’d turned down $2 million from the Yankees when you were still in high school.
I wanted to play college basketball. I felt as though baseball was always a sport people assumed I would go towards. I could throw it hard. That day I had control. I didn’t always have control. There were other stories within our little league.
I saw your Brewers’ first pitch too. That was last back.
It summarizes my pitching career pretty well. I can throw it hard but don’t always throw it straight. I hit in the helmet one of our buddies in town baseball. The ball came back to me and I caught it. It was not great. I digress but baseball was always the sport I was better at. Basketball was always a sport I gave more effort into and worked hard at. Not that I didn’t work hard at baseball. I just worked hard at basketball because I had to and I loved it.
For me, it came down to the idea of if a team wants me that badly out of high school, if I continue to get better, improve and put the work in, why wouldn’t they out of college as well? I always had the dream since I was a kid, blowing out the candles on my birthday cake, to be drafted and have the chance to play two pro sports. I was fortunate.
I went to college and played two. I thought it was going to be best for my development to play two in the same place. I had a great relationship with a baseball coach at Notre Dame. He was the Head Coach at BC when I was coming through high school. I had gotten to know him a lot through the offers he had given me and things like that. I went to Notre Dame to play both and it repeated. I got drafted for baseball out of my junior year at Notre Dame.
I played a summer pro ball, went back for my senior year of basketball and then was fortunate to get drafted into the NBA. I’ve been here ever since. Baseball was the thing that everyone thought I was going to go to college for. Once I was in college, I thought that was the thing I was going to go pro in. Basketball was always that second-tier or fiddle.
You’re a Boston guy. If the Red Sox would’ve offered you $2 million, would you still turn that down? Would you have had to think harder about that?
I don’t think so. I love the Red Sox. The Patriots are the only Boston team I can still root for because of my affiliation with other pro sports teams and those two sports. For me, even though I hated the Yankees, growing up I loved Pedro Martínez, the Red Sox and that rivalry. Pitching in Yankee Stadium in the World Series and wearing the pinstripes wasn’t something that I took lightly. It was still an honor to be even considered to be good enough to play for them.
I didn’t want to give up on a sport before I saw it through. I would have looked back in at my career and regretted giving up on basketball before I played college basketball and saw if I had a chance to be a pro in basketball. I got a teammate that’s a minority owner of a baseball team here in town. Maybe someday, I’ll have him finesse a trade for my rights from Baltimore. I’ll be able to throw some heat for the Brewers by the time my basketball career ends.
I got to get Mr. Stanton a GM job over at the Brewers. He would make that happen right away.
He might make it happen anyway. He knows everybody.
You got into real estate relatively early. You worked on your dad’s job sites growing up. Joe worked on some of those sites too. Is that overselling what he did a little bit?
Joe did. My dad would say it’s overselling what we did. In his opinion, working was not what we did but we did work. It taught us hard work. We did all the stuff that you don’t want to do. We hauled sheetrock up and downstairs, cleaned the dumpsters and threw stuff out of windows to put them in the dumpsters. We did some efficient things but maybe not effective like the way we filled some dumpsters.
There were times when we had to carry 2x4s up the stairs. We’d start, “We’ll grab three.” This guy, being the competitor, is like, “I’m going to grab 4 on the next 1 up.” I’m like, “I got to grab four then.” I don’t want his dad to fire me on the spot. I’m carrying up 4 up the stairs, then he’s carrying 5 on the next 1. I’m like, “I don’t know if I’m capable of carrying 8 2x4s up the stairs.”
Eventually, the competition turned into us trying to carry more and more up the stairs, hitting a few walls, damaging the sheetrock that was already installed and causing problems on the job site, which we stopped being competitive fast.
Can you briefly touch on Three Leaf, how that began and what you are doing?
My dad was a general contractor. We worked on his job sites but we got to see it firsthand. We were young, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th grade. We didn’t have any idea what was happening from a business standpoint. We just saw a house get bought, things get gutted, walls get taken down, gets renovated and what it was at the end. We saw the difference between the house that was bought and the house that was standing by the end of it.
To have that visual, even at a young age, was impressive and impactful on us. It taught us hard work and little stuff like that. As I got older, I didn’t know if I was going to be a professional athlete. One of the reasons I went to Notre Dame for two sports was because of its network, the education component and the things it could do for me outside of sports. I learned a lot of stuff at Notre Dame in business. I wanted to apply it to something that I had a passion for.
When I was fortunate to get drafted in baseball, I was fortunate to have some capital. I was allowed to accept it. I just couldn’t play baseball at Notre Dame the next year, which I wasn’t going to do. I got drafted by the Orioles. I was going to play for them that summer. For me, I wanted to put that towards something that I wanted to learn more about but had passion in. That was real estate. I talked to my dad about it and we did a house at Notre Dame that year. When I got to Portland and I was fortunate to get drafted in basketball, I had a little more capital. We did a house out there.
I then talked with Joe about trying to get involved. He had been working in Boston at a financial company at the time. He had a finance background at school. In my life, it’s about who you can trust as well. We came together and started it small. We started it by flipping a few homes in a place where I had capital and then we learned. I was fortunate with the platform we have. I met people I had no business meeting with because of the Notre Dame network and also the MBA network.
I’ve developed a great base of mentors. I wouldn’t be where I am in business if it wasn’t for them. As I learned more and more about it, it was about buying and flipping homes are great but I’m fortunate to have this means of income by being a professional athlete. That’s not always going to be there. I’m lucky in the number of years being in the NBA. If I get to 11, 12, 13 and 14 years, I’m still going to be 34, 35 and 36 when my career is done. You got 50, 60, 70 years, God-willing, to live. How are you going to continue to have a way of income or make that money last?
That’s something that I saw as building for the future. That’s where some of these mentors talked about, having a cashflowing portfolio, gathering real estate assets and putting them in the bank for the future. Maybe you don’t make as much now but it may not be as risky, as spying or flipping homes. It’s about the market, what people want and demand. A multifamily unit building, a mixed-use building or whatever the case may be, you have the ability to elongate that income stream. That income increases over the years as far as a monthly basis.
When you’re done playing, if you started it in year 6 and you go to year 14, you get 8 years of potentially cashflowing properties under your belt. That’s the mindset we took towards it. Organically, all these things are happening. I’m taking all these meetings and learning more about it. I’m on planes doing emails and reading books. I’m in hotel lobbies taking meetings with different developers with guys and suits. My teammates and other guys across the NBA are thinking, “What is this rookie, 2nd or 3rd-year guy doing? Why is he so invested with his time into these areas when I’ve been in the league 7 in 8 years and never done that?”
That continued to grow. We started to do more of the portfolio build. We started to get guys who wanted to be involved. They asked, “How can I get involved?” It was never something I thought about. Oftentimes, that’s the best way things grow. It’s Three Leaf, you’ve got athletes, businessmen and women through the vehicle of real estate. Those are the three leaves. For us, we want to continue to grow what we’re doing with the ecosystem that we’re building doing great deals with people that we enjoy working with.People see all of the things that Milwaukee brings and the comradery around their sports teams. It becomes a place that people want to be. Click To Tweet
Being a professional athlete, I found that there are a lot of deals that get brought your way. Not a lot of them are great deals but more importantly, who are the people bringing you the deals? Who are the people you want to work with? That is what separates successful businesses from unsuccessful businesses. We’ve gotten 35 professional athletes and 20 other businessmen and women involved.
We’ve created this culture where we’re doing more projects. We’re taking on more investors but we’re being selective with it. We’re trying to grow it with guys that get it, provide an avenue of income for guys when their careers are done and build projects that have a community component to them. It’s not just about the money-making standpoint. It’s about how we find ways to have an impact on that community, whether it’s job growth or giving back.
One of the projects we’ve done is with the school. They had excess land and wanted to find a way to monetize it. We gave them equity in the project for putting the land in. It’s spinning off twenty scholarships a year for that school. They can have a greater impact without coming out of their pocket for it. I’m finding ways to use my platform and my access to both deals and capital to bring about win-win situations for everybody involved.
I’ve heard you talk about realizing the window that you and other athletes have to get in front of all these business people. That doesn’t last forever. A lot of athletes don’t take advantage of that. You’re doing a good job in setting that example and doing a lot for the communities you’re into. It’s great to see. A lot of people around Milwaukee appreciate it.
It’s fun too. Milwaukee, Wisconsin has become a home for me. We won a championship here. Whether I play here for the rest of my career or more years, it’s the place I’ll always be, I’ll always have roots in and we’ll have always achieved something. It’s a place where I want to grow my company and where I want to make sure we have a presence in because I do believe it has an impact on the community and the city.
The city itself has a way in which it can grow the way the city and the people of the city want it to so that it is a more prominently viewed city. I do think it’s underrated. You got Chicago right down South but Milwaukee is an unbelievable place. With our continued success within the bucks, people get to see it in the summertime a little more. You’re playing deeper and deeper into the playoffs. The weather changes. People see the lake and Summerfest.
People see all of the things that Milwaukee brings and the comradery around their sports teams. It becomes a place that people want to be. That is important for economic growth. Some pros and cons come with anything. Overall, it’s the impact that can have on us, Milwaukeeans, as we continue to grow a place that everyone loves and is loyal to.
We’re going to go do a quick lightning round. We had a lot of submitted questions. We’re going to get through as many as possible. Big thank you to everyone who did submit a question. I’m going to bounce around a little. The first one I had was from several of my Marquette friends. Our buddy, John Hally, who grew up in Shrewsbury came to Marquette and introduced himself as Boston John to everyone. We rolled our eyes because he was from Shrewsbury. He’s a big executive in Milwaukee. Harriet asked this. On behalf of Harriet, two-time reigning Wisconsin State Open Golf Champ, what is your go-to Starbucks order? I see you drinking Dunkin’ Donuts right there. I don’t know if you have one.
Technically, it’s not Dunkin’. It’s Alderaan Coffee, which is down on Water Street. It’s Rocket Fuel. How can you not get a coffee that has the name Rocket Fuel? The second I saw it on the menu, I was like, “It’s right up my alley.” If we’re talking Starbucks, I got a little bit of a variety. Sometimes I go vanilla latte with some oat milk. Sometimes I go white peppermint mocha when we’re in the fest of the Christmas season. I’m basic. I’ll admit it. When it comes to coffee, I like a little flavor.
Miami Mark, Z Kelly and David Cohn from First Tee – Southeast Wisconsin asked favorite golf courses in Wisconsin.
Erin Hills, first and foremost. I did shoot my best round at Erin Hills but also, I love the golf course.
What was that?
It was 75. I got some game. It all depends on the direction. Sometimes, I’m directionally challenged.
That one drive you hit with the long drive guy’s driver.
That was a bomb.
After Erin Hills, it’s Whistling Straits. It gets the notoriety. We love Kohler in general up there. They got a great setup up there. They’ve also brought a lot of attention to the State of Wisconsin and the City of Milwaukee. They’re doing a great job up there. Shout-out to David Kohler for that one. Around here, we like Ozaukee. We’ve been there a few times.
Dan Heichel, who purchased the cameo from you in 2019, was wondering when you were joining The University Club. I don’t know if you’ve been there before.
I’ve been to The University Club. One of our assistant coaches was a member there and I went there quite a few times. They have a great track. I’ve been fortunate to play at Milwaukee Country Club. That was a tough track but a great track. There are a lot of great golf courses around there like Sand Valley. I’ve been fortunate to play that tough course but it was a lot of fun. Golf is also putting Wisconsin on the map. It’s a great place to play. Granted, you can’t play it as long as you can play it during the year in Florida. It’s been a fun and challenging place. It’s kept me humble in my golf game.
Speaking of golf, Patrick Lubar said, “Will you commit to running it back in 2023?”
You got to defend your championship.
We won $1,000 to Vegas. They gave us cash, which was nice. I don’t know if you ever got your $1,000.
What if Joe took it from you and didn’t tell you?
That’s on Joe right there. I don’t have your address so I wasn’t sending the checks.
I wasn’t responsible for the checks either. I don’t want to throw it under the bus but Pat Lubar was responsible for handling those out.
What’s the point? The guy is not here. He can’t defend himself.
Be careful, Joe. He does finance a few of our projects.The cool part about Milwaukee is it is a small town relative to the 'big markets'. The loyalty, fandom, and support they show to their team exceed a lot of the support from the big markets. Click To Tweet
Someone named Aurora was wondering what’s the most trouble you and Joe have gotten into together? Was there any episode that happened when you guys were growing up?
Joe and I have been good. We’ve never gotten into a whole lot of trouble. His mom has got a famous line that if I were her son, she would have me again. We’re good enough. We do mess up sometimes as anyone does but we’re good enough.
The most trouble we’ve gotten in has got to be when his parents throw these massive Kentucky Derby parties. It’s got to be the acorn story from that.
Our finest moment was after the horse racing. It was later at night. The parents were all inside having fun. The party had subsided. The 600 attendees went down to about 200 attendees. We were in 6th and 7th grade and were outside. It was a beautiful night out in Kentucky every first Saturday in May. It’s good weather out there. We probably had a baseball game the day before that afternoon or something. We were trying to find ways to have fun. I have a basketball court in the backyard. We were shooting hoops.
Joe and I have a slight history when it came to our childhood. I had these trees in my backyard that had small little berries growing on them. It was on a hill but at the back of my house, you couldn’t see anything from the road. When you go to the front, the hill slopes down. It was not the main road but it wasn’t a back road. With some of the berries over time, Joe and I realized you can throw the berries from the side of the house without being seen.
They’re harmless berries. It wasn’t like they were grape-sized. They were small and soft. I’d like to say it was practicing our aim for our Little League Town Championship run. That didn’t go over well with the parents. If you could throw the berries and reach the road, then it was like, “Can you throw the berries and go over the road or when a car is coming?”
When we were in seventh grade, all of our buddies are there. We had two games that we played that night. One of them was the dumbest game we’ve ever played in history. I live across from a golf course. We had a buddy that would take a golf ball. We’d all stand in a tight circle and he’d throw it as far as he could in the air. Whoever could stay standing in the circle, the longest one is the winner. It’s pitch black. You can’t see the golf ball. You don’t know where it’s going or landing.
You’d make fun of every other wimp that ran off of the green, petrified to be drilled with the golf ball, which was pretty much all of us.
It hits the ground. You realize no one got hit. It was a dumb game. We ended that game pretty quickly. We transitioned into another game. It’s May. Some of the acorns fell off the tree. They’re not berries but go a little farther. “Can you lob them into the road when a car is coming?” Hopefully, there’s a statute of limitations on this. When we land in Boston, it could be a problem. We threw a few acorns. Long story short, a car got us.
They were younger guys, as I recall. By younger, I mean probably high school or more like college guys. We got them with a few acorns. They circled the block and came back. We weren’t quite smart enough to realize it was the same car. We were focused on throwing them a bunch more. We launched it. They drove up into the driveway, ran up to the door, knocked on the door, rang the doorbell and told on us. We all got called inside.
Joe and I, being seasoned veterans, because we may have been spoken to once or twice about this throughout our childhood, we empty our pockets. Our pockets are full of acorns. We empty them on the run. My dad yells, “Get in here.” There was a trail of acorns going into my house like bread crumbs. It was pitch black so no one can see them. We had them all out before we get to the deck. We get inside. There are seven of us lined up on the wall with the parents interrogating us. They have a chair ready, one by one.
The parents were mad but also having a little fun. They’ve been partying all night and were having a little fun with their eye like, “We going to interrogate these poor little kids one by one too.” They didn’t bring us in a group. They brought us in one by one, sat us in the chair, surrounded the parents and interrogated the crap out.
They’re all interrogating but Joe’s mom always gave the opening line. We’d sit down. We all knew what we were there for but they acted as if we didn’t. She was like, “Opening question.” They might have interrogated Joe and me together to see if the stories matched up and if we answered them at the same time, the same way so we didn’t have time to corroborate our stories. She goes, “Joseph, if you were a nut, what nut would you be?”
It’s funny you mentioned that because one of the fan-submitted questions came from Molly Stanton. She asked if you were a nut, what kind of nut would you be?
It’s Joe’s younger sister if nobody knows. If we were in 7th grade and we were 13 at the time, she was probably 7. Joe’s dad had all of our other buddies up against the wall and pat them down. One of our buddies wasn’t smart enough to let go of the acorns. There was a pile of acorns and he took the fall for the entire thing.
The most asked question is, is Pat single?
What does that mean? I’m married to the game of basketball.
He didn’t say no to any ladies out there. It was not a definitive no. What is your favorite snack?
It’s probably smoothies. I’m a big smoothie guy. Smoothie Acai Bowl, I love them.
Can you clarify if this is a dunk or not?
He loses the ball a little bit. I’m going to give you credit for it. That was similar to the first dunk I had when I was fourteen.
I appreciate that. We’ll end on this one. Dodge from over at MSOE is a great guy here in Milwaukee and Carmen from Johnson Financial has a similar question. What are some of the reasons you feel most connected to Milwaukee? Why do you invest time and money into making the city better?
It comes down to the people of the city. For myself, since the day I got here, they’ve made me feel like it’s home. Whether it’s basketball-related or business-related, they’ve made it feel like home and the support that they give on a nightly basis and the pride that they have in their sports teams but also in supporting the people of the sports teams.
The cool part about Milwaukee is it is a small town in relativity to the “big markets.” The loyalty, the fandom and the support that they show to their team exceeds a lot of the support from the big markets. It’s not just because of the sport, how you are playing and the success you’re having on the court. It’s about who the guys are as individuals and getting behind each teammate of mine or each player on the team as people.
You see it firsthand with Bobby Portis and my foundation. I’ve seen it firsthand. Once they accept you, they accept you. They want to see that you are humble. You’re ingrained in the community and here to stay. You’re not somebody that’s coming in and out. You’re not an out-of-towner. Those are hurdles that any great city you want get people that have to go through. It’s an honor to be a part of the Milwaukee Bucks, not just with the organization but also because of the support the City of Milwaukee and the State of Wisconsin give to us both on and off the court.
We’ll end it there.
Guys, thanks so much for reading the Pat Connaughton and Joe Stanton edition. A big thank you to those two for coming in. That was a lot of fun having those guys in the building. Please write a review and subscribe if you have not already. That helps the show out. Send us a screenshot. Let us know you’re reading on Instagram and feel free to keep bombarding Joe on there as well. This show is brought to you by GoGedder Marketing and Media, GGMM.io and our good friends over in Milwaukee.