I’m from southeastern Wisconsin, so naturally I was raised as a fair-weather Milwaukee Bucks fan (#BigThree). I spent 20-some years considering Wisconsin’s largest city my hometown but completely ignoring one of its two professional sports teams (let’s be real, I ignored the Brewers too). But no longer: I’m an active and (trying to be) true Bucks fan, and here’s why the time is now for you to be too.
New owners with money and ideas.
Herb Kohl was not a bad owner, and by many metrics did us all a solid by keeping 1 of only 30 NBA teams in the smallest and one of the least profitable markets. But as soon as Wes Edens and Marc Lasry paid a relative pittance of $550 million for the Bucks, things started to change for the better. My favorite story about these New York hedge fund guys (do we still hate the 1%? Is that still a thing?) took place when they brought some Manhattan friends to Milwaukee for a game. Their friends wanted to buy some Bucks gear to wear to the game, but they were unable to find any in Milwaukee – except for the stadium. So Edens and Lasry decided to give out Bucks paraphernalia at tons of home games last season. A year later, and I have 3 new t-shirts and a scarf, and for the first time in my life I consistently see people wearing Bucks stuff all over town. The more you see, the more people get excited, and the more people buy.
New stadium and neighborhood.
I’m not even going to bother linking to any articles. If you want more facts, Google it; you will find novels on the new Bucks stadium in Milwaukee replacing the BMO Harris Bradley Center. I don’t agree with everything that happened, but ultimately a new stadium will be good for Milwaukee and for Wisconsin, and that wouldn’t have happened without the Bucks. What’s more, these businessmen know that a stadium by itself is not enough (ahem, BMO). That’s why the plans call for a completely revitalized neighborhood (I hope they extend the Haymarket name, rather than using Park East), including retail and offices, living and entertainment. That’s better than a torn-down freeway spur.
New, young, talented team.
The 2015-16 season will see the Bucks open up with a starting five all 25 or younger. That’s absurd. Atari Parker will be back from a freshman injury, MCW is no longer just a place for tired medical students, and the Greek Freak (I’d rather we call him the Big Feta) is getting more polished every day. We’re incredibly young, but already talented enough to take a fantastic Bulls team to Game 6 in the playoffs. We’ll only get better this year. Oh, and a new logo happened, so we’ve got that goin’ for us which is nice.
The 2015-16 Milwaukee Bucks season tips-off this coming Wednesday, October 28. Milwaukee is not only lucky enough to have an NBA team in our city, but an exciting and good one at that. Join me in cheering them on like they deserve. Fear the Deer.