We've pulled five of the funniest passages from the story (and from Ballard's Twitter account). Let this be your inspiration to hit the gym and shotgun a beer today. (Read the whole profile here at SI.com.)
1. He began weightlifting in eighth grade—and his motto was “Do it to get chicks.”
“Gordy escorted me downstairs slowly, as one might a visitor to an art gallery. And there it was: a vast subterranean weight room with a 10-foot ceiling ('so you can do proper pull-ups,' Gordy said), riven by heating ducts and exposed pipes. In all, the room contained the following: a power rack, a long barbell with rubber plates, a leg-press machine, a single-column pulley, a lat pulldown machine, an assisted chin/dip set, a hammer strength swim rack, a fly and rear delt machine, a leg extension device, a calf raise set, 28 dumbbells ranging from 2½ to 70 pounds, an inversion table, a vibration plate, a worn-out stationary bike, a Roman chair, a treadmill, a crunch board, heavy balls, a balance board, a heavy bag, a medicine ball, a blue balancing pod, a foam roller and several jump ropes. Against one wall stood five trophy cases, one for each boy, each jammed with plaques, trophies, commendations and awards of every imaginable kind. Rob's case alone held 73 items.
This is where three of the boys, particularly Rob and Glenn, did much of their weight training, roaring at each other the Gronkowski training motto: 'Do it to get chicks!'”
2. Three of his brothers play professional sports, and all three grew up beating ths sh*t out of each other.
“To hear his family tell it, Rob was born without the capacity to feel fear or pain. The first time he went skiing, at Holiday Valley in Ellicottville, N.Y., he sneaked to the top of the first run and went straight down as fast as he could. At home he endured withering charley horses from his brothers almost daily. Usually they were the result of botched sneak attacks; Dan would be standing in the living room, and—bam!—the smaller, younger Rob would hit him at full speed from behind. Then: retribution. Today, Rob's brothers believe his success at breaking tackles is a result of the ritual pummelings they gave him. 'And all he'd do,' says Chris, 'is laugh.'”
3. He lives in a inconspicuous condo outside of Boston.
“Gronkowski lives in a two-story condo in a middle-class neighborhood so close to Gillette Stadium that he could jog to practice every day. His virtually empty kitchen could be that of a guest at a Residence Inn. The refrigerator held only condiments, eggs and energy drinks, and the counters were lined with a random assortment of Gronkanalia: a box of those ESPN magazines, a YO SOY FIESTA T-shirt (the family copyrighted the phrase), a bunch of orange Ping-Pong balls. There were few mementos—Gordy has Rob's AFC Championship ring, which he refuses to wear because the Patriots didn't win the Super Bowl. Every minute or so a fire alarm in the kitchen cheeped a low-battery warning. Gronkowski didn't notice.”
4. He didn't mean to get drunk after losing the Super Bowl.
“Rob is eager to please, often to his own detriment. That notorious Super Bowl party the night of the Patriots' loss, at which he got drunk and took off his shirt? “Dude, it was the Patriots fans who got me drunk!” he told me, incredulous. “What was I supposed to do, turn down the shots?'”
5. He likes limo buses a lot.
“At the girl's birthday party, after another flip cup game, the girl's father asks who the designated driver will be that night. Gronk shows early signs of limo bus loving. “'O.K., who's going to be the designated driver tonight?' asked the birthday girl's father, a lifelong Patriots fan. Before anyone could respond, Gronk did. 'Get them a limo bus!' he shouted gleefully. 'If you do, I'll come along.'”
Then there's this, from Ballard's Twitter account:
You can afford a limo bus, Gronk! Get on it.