It’s been a long road for the Milwaukee Bucks as an organization. Sometimes, you need a few things to go your way for the fortunes of the franchise. For the Bucks there have been more than a few, the very first being winning the coin flip to land them Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, which led to the Bucks’ only championship and two NBA Finals appearances. From there, you’d have to fast forward to 1985, when Herb Kohl bought the Milwaukee Bucks and became it’s new owner. Yes, there were plenty of awful years, and fruitless chasing of the 8 seed, but Kohl made sure to keep the team in Milwaukee. Another fortunate happenstance was the summer of 2013, where Milwaukee drafted a skinny 18 year old from Greece who very few knew about, and also got a player from the Detroit Pistons who was simply a throw in. Those two players would be the building blocks for the Milwaukee Bucks future. Shortly thereafter, we also had a 2014 transfer in ownership, where the new owners kept the team in Milwaukee and started the process to build a new arena, which would end up being Fiserv Forum.
All of these little fortunes came with some setbacks as well, to Kareem forcing his way out of town, to the teams in the 80s who were always good but not quite enough to get to the Finals, a questionable officiating job in 2001, and so many false promises to the along the way. But on July 3rd, none of that mattered and it was a night where many Bucks fans saw their team win a conference championship for the first time in their lives.
The Milwaukee Bucks are in the NBA Finals. What a sentence that I actually get to type; I wouldn’t have imagined this would ever happen, not after sitting in the Bradley Center for years, not after trying to talk myself into every draft pick, not after the team fell short back to back the last two years. I wouldn’t have seen it when the team was at a crossroads and I was trying to find any way to keep this team in Milwaukee. Hell I wasn’t sure it would happen after Game 5 against the Brooklyn Nets. But this team has faced every challenge and stepped up and survived. They beat past demons and swept them out of the way, they faced a superteam and withstood a historic offensive barrage from one of the greatest players ever. They even lost Game 1 at home and lost their two time defending MVP and rose above it. Now, they are four wins away from a title.
All of this rambling is simply to say, we as Bucks fans need to embrace these next few days as much as we can. Very few fans get to see their teams consistently be in the NBA Finals, let alone win it. It took Milwaukee 47 years to get back to the Finals and hopefully it doesn’t take that long again. We can always go back and bemoan missed shots and wonder what they are doing with every turnover or open three allowed. But for now, we celebrate and say to ourselves: BUCKS IN SIX!