Former Milwaukee Bucks players continue to throw dirt on 2021 title run

2021 NBA Finals - Game Six
2021 NBA Finals - Game Six / Jonathan Daniel/GettyImages

The Milwaukee Bucks snapped a 50-year title drought back in 2021 by defeating the Phoenix Suns in six games in what was a thrilling series from start to finish.

In the years since, NBA fans have questioned the validity of the title run due to several of the Bucks' opponents dealing with injuries. Brooklyn's James Harden and Kyrie Irving and Atlanta's Trae Young, among a few others, were all banged up in those playoffs, which has caused some to look at the win in a different light, though every title run ever has been impacted by injuries to some degree.

For some reason (it's to discredit what the Bucks accomplished), no one ever brings up how the team lost their starting shooting guard in the first round or how Giannis Antetokounmpo suffered a horrific knee injury but still played through it en route to one of the greatest NBA Finals performances to date.

It's one thing when fans from across the league attempt to bash Milwaukee's title, but when players, let alone people who were in that locker room, do it, it's a different story entirely.

Former Milwaukee Bucks players continue to throw dirt on 2021 title run

Speaking on the Run Your Race podcast from Tidal League, Justin Jackson, who was on that team as an end-of-the-bench guy, did not mince words when talking about the run. Talking about that series in the second round against the Brooklyn Nets, Jackson said the Bucks likely would have been swept if Harden and Irving had stayed healthy in that matchup.

Jackson also said that he had his car shipped home after those two games because he wanted it to be ready when the series was over, which he thought would be soon after. That's certainly not the type of mentality you want from anyone on your bench.

To recap, Harden went down almost immediately in Game 1 with a hamstring injury but returned for Games 5, 6 and 7. Irving went down in Game 4 and never returned to the series. Even with Harden out, the Nets went up 2-0 on the Bucks. Milwaukee won Game 3, and Game 4 was close before Irving went out with his injury. The series came down to overtime in Game 7, where Milwaukee prevailed.

Jackson can think what he likes, but it's strange for him to come out and say this about a team that gave him a chance. What's even more strange is that he's not the first player from that title team to do this, as Jeff Teague did something very similar.

On the Club 520 Podcast, Teague said that he and former Buck Bryn Forbes were on the bench during that series thinking there was no way they could win until Kyrie Irving exited. Once the Nets went up 2-0, Teague said he started packing his things after he got back to Milwaukee. Just like with Jackson, that's not the mentality you want from any player on your bench, without question.

Unlike Jackson, who hardly saw the floor in that run, Teague can be somewhat forgiven because his efforts were crucial in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Atlanta, where he stepped up in Giannis Antetokounmpo's absence.

At the end of the day, people can say what they want about Milwaukee's championship. It's still going to be there in the history books. If they are going to mention how the teams Milwaukee played were banged up, they should be obligated to bring up how the Bucks were also dealing with injury issues.

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