Her first thought: “Oh my God, this is really happening.” Edith Pereira, in town from Puerto Rico, looked up at the Bradley Center’s Jumbotron during last Saturday’s Milwaukee Bucks’ game against the Boston Celtics. There she was onscreen next to boyfriend Josue Rodriguez, with the eyes of the stadium on them via the “Kisscam.”
Her next thought: “Just kiss me and get this over with!”
Then: “What is this guy doing?”
Rodriguez dabbed, raising his left arm while putting his head down against his right arm. What to her looked like some kind of rejection was actually a calculated stall tactic.
A second or two later, with great flair, he presented her with an engagement ring he’d been holding for two months. The crowd — it was a packed house — went wild. She was clearly deeply embarrassed but also honored and planted a kiss on his lips before he put the ring on her finger.
“It was our dream come true,” says Rodriguez, 27, who moved to Milwaukee four months ago to take a job with the compliance department at Potawatomie Casino. Before he left his hometown, he met with her parents and told him of his plans to propose, with no idea he’d create a viral moment in doing so.
He and Pereira, also 27, both played college basketball at a Puerto Rican university and remain avid NBA fans. He asked a supervisor at Potawatomie about possibly proposing at a Bucks’ game, and it wasn’t long before arrangements were made. He texted friends and family to make sure they were streaming the game for the big moment.
“Everybody back home was waiting for this,” he says. “She was the only one who didn’t know.”
The video quickly went viral, with 1.5 million views on Instagram by Monday morning, when he went back to work and she flew home.
“Now she has a ring to show around,” he says. “I knew it was going to be very special for her, with basketball and everything.”