About two years ago, right around the time AJ Dillon was drafted by the Green Bay Packers, Fox Point teenager Micah Packman caught the green and gold bug, quickly becoming a big fan of the team and the young running back.
“Once he got drafted, I was watching all of the games and following him on social media and he was just such a cool character, so it was natural,” Packman, 18, said of his fondness for Dillon.
Fast forward to February, when Packman attended the BBYO convention for Jewish teenagers in Baltimore and, low and behold, Dillon, one of about a dozen Jewish NFL players, was a speaker at the event. Packman’s friend knew some of the organizers and, as luck would have it, they needed someone to conduct an onstage interview with Dillon.
After meeting his favorite Packer during a meet and greet, Packman got a late-night text from his friend, asking him if he wanted to interview Dillon the next day.
“I just got a text, like the morning of and had a quick breakfast and then I had to go down to the big stage to help prepare for it,” said Packman, who was a member of BBYO-Wisconsin Region. “It was so surreal.”
The Nicolet High School graduate went over the script and prepared for the interview that morning before interviewing Dillon.
“I was sitting there on my own. I was taking it all in and thinking ‘am I really going to be interviewing one of my favorite NFL players in front of thousands of kids.’ I was just like so shocked and so anxious,” he said.
Packman said he tried his best to soak it all in and be in the moment during the 10-minute chat with Dillon.
“I was so focused on not messing up the interview,” he said.
During the interview, Dillon, who is Black and has tattoos, talked about stereotypes that are spread about what Jews look like, a subject that resonated with Packman.
“For him to go up in front of thousands of young Jewish teens and show them that there are Jews all around the world that might not look the same as them and to accept and be accepted,” he said. “That’s just more of a chance to grow and diversify the Jewish community. I think that’s a very impactful message for him to speak on.”
Packman plans to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he will study business after he works as a camp counselor this summer.
Packman said the link between his last name and his favorite team is not lost on him.
“It’s quite a coincidence because it’s from my dad’s side of the family and he’s from Detroit,” he said. “It’s definitely something funny that’s brought up.”