When the NBA first announced that its rough timeline for returning to action wouldn’t really kick off until the end of July, my overriding feeling was, “my God that’s a long ways away”. Well, June is turning to July and basketball is still a really long ways away (and can’t help but feeling longer in a different way as Florida’s coronavirus count continues to fluctuate regularly).
Time acts an illusion in this circumstance, though. We really are only four-and-a-half weeks away from the Milwaukee Bucks actually taking part in somewhat consequential games beginning July 31st. If the league were going to call things to a halt because of health concerns or apprehension about the feasibility of their scheme they’d have done so already. That would seem to point to this thing actually happening as long as outright catastrophe doesn’t hit; I mean, an even worse catastrophe than what we’re already collectively staring down.
But there’s more than just bubble talk this week: We’ve got an Antetokounmpo on the move overseas, Bucks players taking an active role in the protest movements of the past month, and Larry Sanders joining a cannabis spray company.
Bucks’ Sterling Brown sees playing as chance for social justice campaign & Bucks veteran guard Kyle Korver seeking change more than elusive championship & Bucks’ George Hill reflects on racism, says basketball is ‘last thought on my mind’ (ESPN)
Having been away for a couple weeks, I missed an opportunity to highlight the very vocal and supportive positions Bucks players have taken in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. There was the march through Milwaukee, attendance at other rallies, and now a bevy of interviews where guys like Sterling Brown, Kyle Korver, and George Hill get to stake out their own relation to the demands of the moment.
They all share the same goal — pursuit of an often fatally elusive equality — though their personal journeys to this point in time shape their outlooks. The undercurrent between all three was the tangible passion for the larger cause beyond basketball. Credit to them.
2019-20 Season Reset: Milwaukee Bucks (NBA.com)
Remember when the Bucks were 53-12 and looked like veritable rulers of the galaxy? I barely can either, but it did happen! Steve Aschburner hasn’t forgotten and reminds us of the ridiculous net rating, the mind-bending Antetokounmpo stat lines, and the fact that the Bucks were losers of their last four out of five allowing The Media to abandon ship in favor of the Lakers.
If there’s a single silver lining from this whole disaster it’s that we haven’t been subjected to serious discussions about whether Kyle Kuzma is a better fit in LA than Khris Middleton is in Milwaukee.
TV panelist and sometimes Bucks-owner Marc Lasry doesn’t think the spike in virus cases in Florida will materially change the NBA’s plan heading forward. On top of that, while some players decided to opt out of heading to Orlando, there's no inkling that a Buck or two will stay home. The team is such a machine that losing a role guy or two wouldn’t be fatal, but with plenty of new fathers and wildlife enthusiasts on the roster there was a non-zero chance somebody would’ve passed on The Season of Destiny’s conclusion.
Inside the Milwaukee Bucks’ digital content and in-venue strategy (Sports Pro Media)
Media love nothing more than talking about other media, so please forgive my continual inclusion of folks from the Bucks marketing wing talking about engagement during a pandemic. Still, this is a group whose work helps get us through the time between games, attempts to connect players to fans on a personal level, and puts in the effort to shape the image of the organization locally and beyond. All that is done behind the scenes (with public-facing results) and so it’s cool to hear from Dustin Godsey — the Bucks chief marketing officer — in this SPM podcast.
The Top 5 Executives in the NBA (The Ringer)
Spoiler alert: Jon Horst did not secure the top overall spot in the Ringer’s staff ranking of NBA GMs. That honor went to Masai Ujiri, and there’s no doubt that the league is full of slick front office managers. Where did Horst stack up to the rest of his compatriots? The answer may shock you.
Former Milwaukee Bucks Star Larry Sanders Joins CLICK as Strategic Advisor & Investor (GlobeNewswire)
I’ll never not post some sidebar story about Larry Sanders so long as the Bucks continue to pay him part of his buyout. This time around he’s getting in on the ground floor of another medium in the burgeoning cannabis industry in California (and presumably, eventually, maybe the entire world). Who knows, maybe he’ll even find a way to get a ring before the season is out on top of everything else?
The Social Media Section
The Antetokounmpo Show heads to Spain
...where can I snag one of those Kwik Trip hoodies?
The knee wraps are for helping with all the inflammation from the intense training
Fire shorts, literally
George Hill is America
Through the transitive property of NBA transactions, Andrew Bogut won a ring with the Bucks
ROUNDTABLE: Australian basketball writers look back at Andrew Bogut's impact on the sport and his defining legacy https://t.co/vX49zgLdlt— NBA Australia (@NBA_AU) June 29, 2020
My proposal is that the Bucks just bring back every player who has suited up for them the last decade to get this trophy
OJ Mayo in his first game back in Taiwan since quarantine Still a bucket and looks in great shape athletically. Great to see that he’s still grinding and in love with the game after all these years.— Ball Don't Stop (@balldontstop) June 23, 2020
( @paulpaul024/IG) pic.twitter.com/na5AAfuTpC
This dude’s got nine head coaching lives, apparently
Jon “Steph before Steph was Steph” Brockman
With a bit of luck this latest absence of mine will be the final one for some time to come. From here on out its me, you, and the strangest/most asterisk-y title in living memory. No better time than the present, right?