In the worst of games, when the floaters weren’t dropping and the defense was lacking, apathetic Bucks fans walked out of the arena asking many questions such as, “How does this always happen, why does this always happen, or will this always happen?” For the more financially conscious fans, “…Did I really just spend $100 on a ticket, two hot dogs, 2 beers, and 30% percent shooting from Jennings?”
On April 11th, 2012, with a minute remaining in the game J.R. Smith drilled a three to hush an already cautiously optimistic Buck’s crowd on ESPN. The desolate Bradley Center quickly emptied. Not only did the shot solidify a Knicks win, but it also put the Bucks’ 8th seed hopes out of reach. Sadly 2012 was no different than any other year. After Allen packed his bags for Seattle in ’02, the Mediocre Deer constantly found themselves chasing after that coveted 8th and final playoff spot. But to anyone who has chased mediocrity, they know it’s exactly like that girl you chased after in high school. The chase itself is just as exciting as anything else, but once you get her, you realize she’s nothing special. In fact in the long run, she’ll probably stab you in the back. Once it’s all said and done is when you know you should have acted more like your friends from San Antonio or Golden State. The ones’ who chased the better girl with much patience and with a longer term outlook. But with the tail end of the 2011 “lockout season” coming to a close, the Bucks fell to 28-30. The inevitable was only put off a couple weeks later. The Bucks missed the playoffs, often was the case for the Mediocre Deer.
But 2014 came around, and it looked like the Bucks had finally learned a thing or two from their high school friends. The process of patience and the long term outlook appeared to be working. We stole Middleton in a trade. We struck gold with Giannis in the summer. Tanked the season. Drafted Jabari. And now all of a sudden the girl we are chasing isn’t mediocrity; rather stardom.
So on January 6th, 2017, the opulent New York Knicks found themselves in blue-collar Milwaukee. In just 6 years, the differences were abundant. To a lifelong Bucks fan, it appeared everything was coming full circle. The Knicks were back here on national television, but this time the crowd was far from desolate. Rather, some 17,000 ecstatic fans packed a damn near sold out Bradley Center with not only their presence, but hope. This time, Brandon Jennings was not the starting guard for the Deer. Instead, he spent most his time on the Knicks’ bench next to foul ridden Joakim Noah. And this time, the Bucks’ eyes were set on competing at championship level basketball, not mediocrity.
The juxtaposition is almost poetic. So begins an enchanting affair between the Bucks and their fans. I encourage all Milwaukeeans to get out and see a game. To anyone who has not been to 4th and State in a while, I promise it’ll be a site.
Because now in the best of games, when the Giannis-Euro is smooth and the Jabari jams are jamming, the enthusiastic Bucks fan leaves the arena not asking but thinking one thing, “It’s about damn time.”