Monday was a special night for sophomore forward Xavier Tillman. In addition to having arguably the best game of his career in Michigan State’s blowout win over Iowa, Tillman and his Spartans teammates celebrated his daughter’s second birthday.
On the court, Tillman put up 14 points, along with eight rebounds and four blocks. It was a career high in both points and blocks for the 19-year-old. But the fun didn’t really get started until after the 90-68 win was over.
During the traditional celebratory lap around the Breslin Center to give high-fives to fans, Tillman and his teammates all stopped to wish his daughter Ayanna a happy birthday.
Today is Ayanna Tillman's second birthday. On their celebratory lap around the Breslin Center, the MSU players stopped and celebrated with her. Happy birthday, Ayanna. pic.twitter.com/BV19kZA2df— David Harns (@DavidHarns) December 4, 2018
In addition to all of the hugs and high-fives from players, two-year-old Ayanna also received a special gift from one of the MSU cheerleaders – her very own green and white pom pons.
And a cheerleader gave Ayanna a set of MSU pom pons after the game. pic.twitter.com/8URfQS5lgi— David Harns (@DavidHarns) December 4, 2018
The cutest moment of the celebration came after the players returned to the locker room. Tillman, with “help” from his freshman teammates Marcus Bingham and Aaron Henry, sang a...special... version of Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday.”
Fortunately, the three Spartans are better on the court than on the mic. But no one could deny the cuteness of seeing the happy dad celebrate with his teammates.
I asked Tillman if he wanted to sing happy birthday to his daughter. His teammates helped him out. pic.twitter.com/zK6xpuW4qn— David Harns (@DavidHarns) December 4, 2018
Ayanna clearly helped MSU with a little birthday magic. The Spartans played a near-perfect game against Iowa to get a quality win at home.
Hopefully the two-year-old has plenty of reason to celebrate with her new pom pons throughout the season. If her dad keeps having nights like he did Monday, the celebrations may last well into March.