The first annual NBA Awards show was highly anticipated to put it simply. Taking center stage was the closest MVP race we’ve seen in years between James Harden and Russell Westbrook. However for me and many Bucks fans, we couldn’t care less about the MVP or Coach of the Year awards. There was something much more important happening that night.
The Bucks had two nominees for awards. Giannis Antetokounmpo was nominated for the Most Improved Player of the Year and Malcolm Brogdon for Rookie of the Year. I was glued to the TV for the whole 2 hour and 15 minutes, sitting through a Nicki Minaj performance and skits from Drake and Will Ferrell teaching me how to shake hands. I was willing to watch because I didn’t want to miss a second of possible Bucks history.
Both players won their awards handily. For the players, this is recognition for their efforts. Malcolm Brogdon gave a very inspirational acceptance speech, and talked about how him winning the award was proof that no matter what, dedication and hard work can lead you to your goals. Giannis winning the Most Improved Player award is a statement from the NBA saying “watch out for this guy, he is going to dominate soon.” As great as receiving an award is for a player, it’s even more significant for the franchise and its loyal fans.
The name “Milwaukee Bucks” carries a legacy of being a laughing stock that occasionally squirms its way into the playoffs every couple of years. Now, with these young stars receiving their well-earned awards, the Bucks can begin to get rid of that legacy and create a new one. The Bucks have an opportunity to make those who laughed at the team for years eat a well-cooked crow. Not only is there the realistic possibility of contending for future championships, but Milwaukee can do it the “right way.” The team never went after big name free agents or robbed teams blind of their draft picks. The front office drafted players, committed to them, and developed them into stars that have been recognized as the best in their categories.
The fans are heavily invested in awards like these, especially fans of a rebuilding team on the rise. To us, this is hope for the future. Brogdon had a great rookie year and Giannis did things that have never been done in the NBA before. After years of losing we have something to look forward to. The Milwaukee Bucks are loaded with young talent, and I’m very excited to see what this team does over the next few years.
Ever since the end of the regular season and into the playoffs, the Bucks have seemingly dropped the slogan “Own the Future.” Maybe they were so confident about the awards that they decided to drop the slogan because they would quite literally own the future with young stars. It certainly feels like the rebuild is coming to an end, and it would be fitting for the next great NBA team to finish that rebuild with awards like these.