Welcome back to the Brew Hoop Round Table, where we ask that everybody use coasters and please don’t feed the pugs from the table, thanks. Today, we get sentimental and put together everybody’s favorite side dishes (here’s Mitchell’s!) while we talk about what we’re thankful for from the Milwaukee Bucks.
Thanksgiving Day is upon us, and while it’s a Thanksgiving Day that’s unlike any of us have ever experienced, it’s important to remember the things in your life that you’re thankful for. One thing that all of us (you, the reader and us, the writers) are surely thankful for are the Milwaukee Bucks. Given that, I thought it’d be a fun idea to get my colleagues together and have us each write up a Bucks memory that we’re thankful for. In the comments, feel free to share a Bucks-related memory that you’re thankful for as well!
Gabe: There are a lot of options I could select for this, but I’m going to go with a game some of you may not remember. I actually wrote about it a few months ago. It was a late March day in 2006. The Phoenix Suns were in town facing off against the Bucks, and the Suns had a juggernaut of a team. Steve Nash, A’mare Stoudemire (though he didn’t play in this game), and Shawn Marion were members of the Suns at the time. My family had made the trek down from central Wisconsin for the first Bucks game since we had moved away from Milwaukee a few years earlier, and man, was it an exciting one.
The Bucks would finish 18-of-32 from the 3-point arc and etch new records for points, points in a half (74), points in a quarter, field goal percentage (60.5 percent), and assists (36) and etch out a win against the talented Phoenix squad. It was also Charlie Bell’s first career triple-double, and a 10 year-old Gabe made his way down to the players’ tunnel and got his autograph on a piece of scratch paper from his Mom’s purse. It’s a memory that I’ll cherish for years to come!
Adam: Like Gabe, and with the announcement that the Bucks won’t have fans in the stands for the start of next year, I’m feeling nostalgic for in-person memories right now. So, I’m eternally grateful for the 2014-15 Milwaukee Bucks season. Sure, the franchise would probably be in a better place had they tanked that year, and it meant Jason Kidd outlived his welcome, but the Playoff series against the Chicago Bulls that year left me with so many fuzzy feelings even in defeat. I had a crew of friends that year that always wanted to trek from Madison to Milwaukee for Bucks games, and we headed over about seven times that year. We jumped on the amazing Playoff ticket deal that year, $50 for two Playoff games + the last regular season game for free.
While Game 3 ended in disappointment, a trusted few of us schlepped over to the Bradley Center for Game 4, where the crowd felt like 75% Bulls fans. As they heckled the home crowd, we threw it right back at them until the very moment that Jerryd Bayless laid in the game-winner at the buzzer. O.J. Mayo had an incredible stretch of shotmaking too, ending with a team-high 18 points. It was a such a lively experience to watch the woeful Bulls fans file out to chants of Bucks in Six. I can’t wait until we can all return to communal moments like that again.
Mitchell: There are so many memories for die-hard fans to choose from. Jennings’ 55-point game. The Warriors 24-1 game. Giannis in Madison Square Garden. Herb Kohl selling the team only to buyers who would keep the team in Milwaukee, and then those buyers making good on that promise. For a franchise that is light on hardware since the 1970s, it’s easy to think that the list of moments that a fan can be thankful for is a short one, but most members of the Brew Hoop community know that isn’t the case.
My favorite Bucks memory isn’t a feel-good one, but it’s a vitally important one. I’ll always remember and be thankful for seeing how the wildcat strike in August unfolded, with George Hill and Sterling Brown at the forefront and every teammate, coach, and staffer behind them in solidarity. The Bucks transformed from a team into a brotherhood on that day, and they always will be tied together from that moment. Both Sterling and George have moved on to different teams, but their time in Milwaukee will be defined by their fortitude, by standing up for what they believed in, and for shifting the conversation even if it was only for a little while.
Moreover, that memory is inextricably linked with my memories of covering the strike, and the fallout, and the influence on the Wisconsin state legislature, and how the paths of basketball, politics, civil rights, and humanity converged in the summer of 2020. I am thankful for being able to not just tell that part of the story, but converse with all of you about it, and how the Brew Hoop community really was a community, and how we were able to navigate that event and come out better on the other side. I am truly thankful for that.
Kyle: I would agree with Mitchell in that one of my favorite memories was not necessarily a high point. The team’s response and continued display of standing with Sterling Brown after his encounter with the Milwaukee Police that cold night really resonated with me. Teams and ownership always say they are going to be about the community and inclusive but never really stand on their word. But the Bucks putting out the statement multiple times they will stand and support Sterling really showed they were going to try and stay true to their word.
For my positive memory, Game 4 against the Boston Celtics in the 2018 Playoffs was one of the best games to attend in Person. Thon Maker was doing his usual “Playoff Thon” things. There was the Delly scoop, Giannis was posterizing the supposed Giannis stopper all were fun times. That combined with that was the last time I would ever be at the Bradley Center was a nice final memory. The Bradley Center had been almost a second or third home for me growing up so to end it on a high note was pretty special.
Riley: I’m going to cheat and give you two memories because this is a basketblog and there are no hard and fast rules.
The first memory was from November 3rd, 2012 courtesy of my best friend and yours, Brandon Jennings. My father, brother, and I rarely went to Bucks games together, but for some reason my dear father thought it’d be a good idea to go to the season home opener. I’d yet to really fall in love with basketball (it was my brother’s sport, primarily), though I enjoyed watching the game on its merits. We were treated to a masterclass in Monta Ellis’s game as he’d go 8-20 that evening, only to be topped by Mike Dunleavy Jr. inexplicably going 10-12 from the floor for 29 points while grabbing 12 rebounds. But it was Jennings who would provide us with the heroics as the game stood tied 102-102 with :00.6 left on the clock. The rest was jubilant history. We would go on to get swept by the Heatles that year.
Second memory isn’t game related, but involves my brother yet again: It was the summer of 2014 and I’d gotten more hooked to the Bucks in the intervening two years. Jabari Parker had just been drafted second overall and I was back in Wisconsin schlepping as a janitor for another summer. My brother and I were so excited (weren’t we all, at least a little bit?) that we opted to leave work at 10 AM to drive downtown to the Milwaukee Public Market to be there for the Jabari welcome party and press conference. The place was packed, the mood ebullient, and Larry Drew looked like a man who had just been saved. He’d be canned a few days later for Jason Kidd in what was a harbinger for the early LED era. Good times.
Andrew: I am thankful for the 2009-2010 Bucks team. I was in middle school at the time and would always get picked on for being a Bucks fan. However, that rookie season with brandon Jennings i will always remember fondly. Andrew Bogut was playing at a 1st-team level on both ends and that trade for John Salmons really had me believing this team could compete with the juggernaut Orlando Magic squad. Unfortunately, we all know how that ended :(
I am thankful for all my Brew Hoopers and readers who took me in when I first started. I thoroughly enjoy interacting with readers and seeing the comments on my posts, good or bad! We have a lot to be thankful for!
Again, feel more than welcome to comment a Bucks memory you’re thankful for down below! We here at Brew Hoop would like to thank everyone a very happy (and safe!) Thanksgiving.