Jeramey Jannene

Milwaukee Bucks Win NBA Title, First in 50 Years

Giannis Antetokounmpo named Finals MVP.

By - Jul 21st, 2021 12:06 am
Deer District watch party. Photo from the Milwaukee Bucks.

Deer District watch party. Photo from the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Milwaukee Bucks are NBA champions.

The team defeated the Phoenix Suns, 105 to 98, on Tuesday night to win game six of the NBA Finals and close out the series. With one minute left in the game and the outcome a foregone conclusion, chants of “Bucks in six” broke out repeatedly amongst the more than 65,000 gathered outside Fiserv Forum. The approximately 16,500 people stayed in their seats until well after the game was completed and the team hoisted the Larry O’Brien championship trophy.

It’s the first time since 1971 the Bucks are NBA champions.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton are the last players left on the team from its disastrous 2013-2014 season where the team won only 15 games. It won 16 in the 2021 playoffs to secure the title.

The two led the team to the championship, with Antetokounmpo scoring 50 of the team’s 105 points in the closeout game and being named the finals’ Most Valuable Player. He has twice won regular-season MVP awards.

The win fulfilled a 2013 statement by former Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Jennings. When asked for his playoff series prediction prior to playing the Miami Heat, the league’s best team, Jennings responded: “I’m real confident. I’m sure everybody is writing us off, but I see us winning the series in six.” The team was swept by the Heat, but Jennings’ confidence took on a life of its own. “Bucks in six” became a phrase commonly used by fans.

Jennings, who was in attendance Tuesday night, was traded after that season but returned briefly in 2018. When asked about the 2013 statement, by then a running joke between fans, he said: “Bucks in six always, that’s for the culture.”

Former Bucks players Michael Redd, Desmond Mason, Marques Johnson and Vin Baker were also in attendance Tuesday night. Baker is now an assistant coach under head coach Mike Budenholzer.

The team also defeated the Atlanta Hawks in six games to go to the NBA Finals. The last time the team was in the finals was 1974 when Bucks lost in seven games to the Boston Celtics.

The team was sold at the end of the disastrous 2014 season by long-time owner Herb Kohl to Marc Lasry, Wesley Edens and Jamie Dinan. Kohl pledged $100 million as part of the sale proceeds to build what became Fiserv Forum.

Milwaukee now has what Lasry, Edens and Dinan said they would bring to the city: a championship.

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