Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant know Las Vegas well. They grew up there and now that they’re baseball’s rising stars getting keys to the city is fitting. The players were honored by Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman in a ceremony.

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Bryce Harper earned National League MVP honors and Kris Bryant was named Rookie of the Year in the National League but prior to becoming the game changers that we now know them as Harper and Bryant grew up together playing baseball and were either little league rivals or teammates.

“He always played up with the older guys because he was so good,” Bryant said when the Nationals visited Wrigley Field in May. “He was always so much bigger and so much stronger than everybody, and better. He always threw hard and hit the ball farther. I was like, ‘Wow, this kid is going to go somewhere.’ Obviously, he’s here and doing what he’s doing. I expected nothing else.”

As teenagers Bryant and Harper played on the same team, the Southern Nevada Bulldogs. “We won a lot of tournaments, and lot of them were because of him,” Bryant added.

Harpers respect for Bryant is evident in the way he speaks of him. “When we were younger, we used to call him ‘Silk.’ He was so smooth with everything he did. He played third, played short, played a little outfield when we were younger. He pitched, of course, and he always hit very well.”

Harpers connection to Las Vegas runs deep since he went to high school and college in the city attending Las Vegas High on the east side and the College of Southern Nevada before being chosen No. 1 overall by the Nationals in the 2010 Draft.

Bryant went to high school on the opposite side of town, the west side attending Bonanza High. Bryant played for three seasons at the University of San Diego prior to the Cubs selected him with the second overall pick in the 2013 Draft.

The reunion at home over a set of keys may prove to have unlocked a closer and lasting friendship.

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