Bucks Can Make Milwaukee A Great Basketball City Again


Is Milwaukee ready to become a great basketball city again by getting behind their young Milwaukee Bucks?

I was sitting in my living room on Saturday afternoon watching Marquette take on the Wisconsin Badgers. I had one eye on the game and another on my phone, searching all over for a reasonably priced ticket to the Milwaukee Bucks/Golden State Warriors game that evening.

All week I had been in search of a ticket, but didn’t want to shell out over 100 dollars to sit in row X of the 400 section. After hours of page refreshing and answering Bucks twitter account questions, in hopes of winning tickets, I gave up and decided it wasn’t worth it. Sure, I wanted to see the amazing display of basketball put on by the Warriors, but at the end of the day I didn’t want to see my favorite team most likely lose.

The day passed by and at 5 P.M. I jumped in the shower and thought to myself how cool it would be if the Bucks won. At that moment I realized I would hate myself if the Bucks managed to break the streak and I wasn’t there to witness it. I jumped out of the shower, grabbed my phone, and before I even dried off, I had purchased the tickets.

The game, as you all know, was incredible. From the opening basket by Jabari Parker, the crowd was electric. Before we had arrived I mentioned that I expected there to be at least 25 percent, if not more, of the building filled by Warrior fans at the game. But walking through the arena and looking at the crowd, there appeared to be a significantly smaller amount of fair weather Warrior fans than I anticipated.

Through all the standing ovations after timeouts and loud chants throughout the game, I was thoroughly impressed with the passion the fan base expressed on Saturday night.

Sure, it was because the team the Bucks were facing was riding an incredible winning streak. Everyone in attendance wanted to be a part of a historical moment, that’s why I bought my tickets, but what it doesn’t discredit is the potential for Milwaukee to once again be a great city for NBA basketball.

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The poor attendance at Bucks games has been well documented over the years. Between having the oldest arena in the league and not having much to cheer for on the court, casual fans of the Bucks haven’t had much of a reason to go to the games.

Even after an offseason in which excitement was rapidly building among the community, the Bucks find themselves 27th out of 30 teams in attendance, even behind the hapless 76ers in 26th.

The slow start to the season (10-15 record) has done the Bucks no favors with their attendance woes, but still it is disappointing to see the city of Milwaukee fail to support this young team.

However, hope is on the horizon.

If Saturday night against the Warriors is any indication, the people of Milwaukee are dying to cheer on the Bucks.

I have been in many stadiums for various sporting events, and Saturday was one of the rowdiest I have ever experienced. As we were making our way out of the stadium after the game, on three different occasions a boisterous ” Go Bucks Go” chant broke out on the stairs and in the atrium, which was echoed by nearly the entire crowd making their exit.

It felt like we had just won a playoff series, when in reality it was one game out of 82, albeit a remarkable one.

Milwaukee has always been a great city for sports. Growing up I was lucky to have a Dad who took me to a lot of Bucks games during the days of the Big Three of Ray Allen, Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson, and Sam Cassell.

The Bradley Center was the place to be, I remember huge pre-game block parties before playoff games where the whole city seemed to be there. In consecutive seasons, 2001-02 and 2002-03, the Milwaukee Bucks were 12th and 13th in attendance in the NBA. In the NBA’s fifth smallest market, those are impressive numbers, numbers that Bucks fans should strive to get back to.

Dec 12, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks fans celebrate after the Bucks defeated the Golden State Warriors 108-95 to end the Warriors

If you don’t believe that the Milwaukee Bucks can once again have a consistent passionate fan base, look no further than Milwaukee’s other professional sports team, the Brewers.

Even after Miller Park was built in 2000, the Brewers suffered through horrible attendance, leaving people questioning why they even built a new stadium. The team was awful, the stadium was losing money, and it looked to be a bad situation.

Then came Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, and after a couple of successful and exciting seasons, Miller Park became the place to be in Milwaukee during the summer. Even last season when they had a record of 68-94, the worst season for the Brewers since 2004, they still had the 13th highest season attendance in all of baseball!

So why can’t the Bucks garner the same kind of enthusiasm and passion that fans show the Brewers? Giannis and Jabari are to the Bucks, as Braun and Fielder were to the Brewers, minus the steroids and excessive eating.

Last season was a step in the right direction in winning over the people of Milwaukee and the rest of the state. But a poor start this season has seemed to tamper excitement for this team, as expectations were higher than ever.

Saturday night was immensely important for this team with a packed house. They proved to this city that the Bucks are something worth coming out to see on a nightly basis.

The city is waiting for this team to win them over, and when they do, the BMO Harris Bradley Center will be rocking like Saturday night time and time again.