Michael Baer shares heartfelt thanks for his graduating older brother, Nicholas
Nicholas Baer has always been one of Michael Baer's role models.
Big brother and little brother, alike yet different, one leading the other by example.
After a few school years apart, the two had been back together this basketball season as Iowa Hawkeyes.
Nicholas, a redshirt senior, saw his career come to a close Sunday with Iowa's overtime loss to Tennessee in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Michael, a sophomore, saw his own short every-minute reunion reach its virtual end, as well, and he shared his gratitude in a moving Instagram post Monday afternoon.
"We laughed, joked, played, and I followed you everywhere because I wanted to be just like my brother," said Michael of his first 14 years before Nicholas left Bettendorf for Iowa City.
Michael's "closest confidant" was briefly gone, and even the time together over holiday breaks didn't feel the same.
"... This is what makes the end of your career so hard," he continued. "We were blessed with an amazing opportunity to fulfill our dreams as Hawkeyes, but maybe the biggest blessing was that I got to see my brother and best friend every day.
"This speaks to your personality and character, because I have gotten to see firsthand what makes you one of the greatest Hawkeyes of all time. Just as I looked up to you when I was young, you have inspired a whole generation of Hawkeye fans to be just like you."
Baer finished his career at Iowa with 794 points, 578 rebounds, 169 assists, 140 3-pointers, 121 blocked shots and 132 steals. He earned the universal respect and admiration of his Hawkeyes teammates.
“I told him, 'I’ve been doing this for over 30 years,'” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “'I’ve never been around anyone like you.' I’m going to miss him.”
So will little brother.
"You have made a lifelong impact on me that you may never realize," Michael wrote in his post. "You are truly one-of-a-kind. We shall never see your like again.
"And now his watch is ended."
Later Monday, Nicholas Baer authored a quick reply of his own: "Love you brother, this year with you has been a major blessing. Your turn now! Night gathers and now your watch begins."