Couldn’t make it to the BMO Harris Bradley Center for the home opener? Fret not! We got you covered on all the happenings inside the Fortress on Fourth Street that had very little to do with the paid professionals on the court.
The walk to the Bradley Center from my apartment is around 25 minutes. Typically the gameday presence is not felt until I cross the Milwaukee River and have a view of the BMO.
This was not a typical gameday, however. I walked about five minutes down my street in a so-ugly-it’s-great Ray Allen shirsey before another Bucks clad Milwaukeean and I made eye contact. As we walked past each other we did that head nod you give to people that you connect with for three seconds and then never see again.
By the time I had reached the Milwaukee River and had sights on the Bradley Center, I had repeated the head nod ritual three more times. The downtown was buzzing with Bucks fever at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon. The stage was set for what the atmosphere during the game would be like.
I entered the arena, went through the security check, exchanged greetings with security and ushers, and made a beeline towards the mountain of cardboard boxes that contained the first arena giveaway of the season:
This giveaway had a lot of hype surrounding it, and folks, the retro shooting shirts exceed the hype. The collar is a bit tight (sorry to the big heads out there) but that thick mesh material is very comfortable and makes up for the moderate struggle of putting it on.
This shirt has all the makings of getting worn during the summer months. I’ll probably end up wearing mine to bed when the summer heat makes it tough to sleep. This shirt was a total slam dunk of a giveaway.
After coming down from the high of finally having the giveaway, I remembered something from the pre-season games - THE NIKE GEAR IS HERE! THE NIKE GEAR IS HERE! THE NIKE GEAR IS HERE!
I headed to the nearest team store and holy smokes was it packed to the gills. The Nike gear was in fact there and they were fully stocked. Of course the prices were astronomical, but hey, that’s what happens when new Nike clothes and professional sports team stores join forces:
Hey good lookin. Miss me with that $125 price tag though pic.twitter.com/RJ0Ys3IMLh— Greg Licht (@Greg_Licht) October 20, 2017
I am saving my pennies for whenever the MECCA game jerseys hit the shelves.
The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra performed the Star Spangled Banner and it was a very regal 1:31 experience. I really hope they bring out the orchestra again in the future. It was incredibly amusing watching the symphony quickly disassemble and scatter after playing the player introductions.
I received the gameday guide email about five hours before tip-off and noticed a curious little note towards the bottom:
The interactive light show came in the form of bracelets that were on every seat in the house and the bracelets were all
N*SYNC in sync with the introductions and produced a rather aesthetically pleasing background combined with the orchestra playing.
The symphony started out with a slow build up and the anticipation was palpable:
A frenzy quickly ensued as we approached closer and closer to the player introductions:
Giannis Antetokounmpo had one of the most deafening player entrances I’ve heard. The PA voice was completely drowned out by the screams, cheers, and M-V-P chants.
Two contestants squared off to see how many free throws they could make in 24 seconds and earn the right at the “Jackpot Shot.” After the 24 seconds were up, the shooter on the north basket came away victorious by a 4-3 margin. For his shot, he chose to go for the $5,000 grand prize which meant we got treated to a half-court shot attempt.
Man that looked so good out of his hand. I feel like if I tried this I would end up stepping and slipping on the black mats that indicate the dollar amount.
The Dab Cam made an appearance and oh my goodness it was so bad. Not in a so bad it’s kind of good way, just in a wow this is bad in an actually bad kind of way.
God that was painful to watch— Greg Licht (@Greg_Licht) October 20, 2017
Blue Man Group
BMG’s halftime performance was pretty solid overall. Their performance synced up with the light up bracelets which added to the whole shtick that the Blue Man Group is about. It did not last too long but they made the most of their time on the court and ended their performance with confetti cannons.
Shout out to the arena crew for the brisk assemble and disassemble and confetti cleanup right before the players made their way back onto the court. The arena crew does not mess around.
Also, why aren’t they called the Blue Men Group? There’s more than one blue man out there.
I was surrounded by
Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James fans and everyone was pretty pleasant with one another. I swear a lifetime of going to Cubs/Brewers games has completely warped my view on my how fans of rival teams interact with each other.
The jumbo-tron showed the injured players for each team and someone behind me was genuinely surprised that Jabari Parker was injured. I don’t want to poke fun at someone that doesn’t follow the team to a great extent, but also, bruh.
During one of the many t-shirt toss segments, a young guy was walking up the aisle with his back turned to the action. One of the t-shirt tossers launched a shirt that i swear had heat tracking technology on the young guy walking up the aisle. The shirt connected with the back of his neck and miraculously the guy took the hit in stride, but didn’t come away with the shirt.
This game provided plenty of film to pick apart and analyze, but goodness gracious was the BMO rocking up until Kyle Korver lit the world on fire. Even as the game reached its closing moments the buzz from the crowd was still there.
The night was a perfect storm of ambitious arena entertainment, marquee match-ups, and basketball-famished Wisconsinites finally getting to whet their collective appetites. The Bradley Center’s final home opener will not soon be forgotten.
With the Blue Man Group performing at halftime, it only makes sense that I leave you with this: