If you happened to have watched Milwaukee Bucks basketball over the last few decades, there has been one voice to guide you through all of the action.
Jim Paschke has been there to commentate the highs and lows that have encompassed the Bucks for the last 35 years, alongside Bucks legends like Marques Johnson or Jon McGlocklin. While much has changed about the franchise since making his first broadcast back at the start of the 1986-87 season, the last year of Don Nelson’s legendary Bucks stint, what hasn’t changed has been Paschke, who has been on the call to narrate all of the action in the years since.
Tuesday night, before the Bucks’ 124-118 victory over the Brooklyn Nets, brought the announcement that Paschke is retiring after this 2020-21 season, which he made during part one of his annual one-on-one interview with Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.
For Bucks fans of a certain age, which I include myself here, Paschke has been the one voice in our collective lifetimes that has narrated the many Bucks memories we have held dear over his time as the team’s play-by-announcer.
Whether it’s been calling memorable game winners and finishes for the Bucks, captivating playoff runs or documenting the rise of a global superstar like Antetokounmpo, Paschke has been there to connect us all through all of these kinds of moments in Bucks history. And it’s through that lens that Paschke has embedded himself not only as the Bucks’ identity, but in the hearts and minds of Bucks fans everywhere throughout the city of Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin as a whole.
Jim Paschke has been a fixture in the history for the Milwaukee Bucks
Up until recently where the Bucks have enjoyed this franchise rebirth, Paschke has been there to document Bucks a team trying to find their way after being such an upstanding franchise in their first two decades of existence. Through the endless promise and string of disappointments the Bucks faced before this period of rejuvenation, Bucks fans took solace knowing Paschke, along with his former longtime partner in McGlocklin, would be there to inspire hope in some fashion.
As the franchise has evolved from the top down in recent years, Paschke has been one of the constants to link the Bucks to the various eras they have experienced and enjoyed over his watch. The hope that never wavered from long-suffering Bucks fans has led to enjoying this renaissance we see now and it’s been made all the more better with Paschke, along with Johnson and sideline reporter Zora Stephenson, to chronicle the action.
For as much as players like Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday or Khris Middleton has reignited the passion of all Bucks fans and keeps everyone tuned in, even beyond the state of Wisconsin, Paschke is synonymous with Bucks basketball in his own right. One simply can’t think of the presentation of Bucks basketball without the venerable announcer being there along the way.
The Bucks organization has already commemorated Paschke’s tenure late into the 2015-16 season where they celebrated Paschke and McGlocklin’s 30 years together as the Bucks’ broadcasting crew. Along with that, Paschke received the Todd Harris Spirit award in September of 2018, which highlights an NBA broadcaster or executive who is the ultimate team player and inspires people to make every day brighter.
If that last honor doesn’t suit Paschke to a tee, than I’m not sure what encapsulates the experience of watching and hearing him on a call for a given Bucks game.
Paschke’s contributions to the Bucks have been etched in Bucks lore and he stands alongside fellow Bucks broadcasting legends like Eddie Doucette, the team’s original announcer during their formative years, Ted Davis as well as McGlocklin and Johnson. Add in his time announcing Milwaukee Brewers and Marquette University games and much more and Paschke stands as an institution in the history of Milwaukee sports.
Of course, Paschke’s ride is not yet finished and Bucks fans will certainly soak in his last handful of games with what remains this regular season and going into the playoffs. Whether the Bucks will cap off Paschke’s illustrious run with something special as Budenholzer hinted towards after that win over the Nets remains to be seen, but it would certainly be a thrilling parting gift for someone who has been an indelible part of the Bucks experience for the last 35 years.
On behalf of all Bucks fans everywhere, we wish Jim Paschke a very happy and healthy retirement. Watching Bucks basketball just won’t be the same without you.