Last night, the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Phoenix Suns 105-98 to become the NBA champions. Led by the nearly indefatigable Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks wrenched the game away from the grasping Suns by doing the obvious but difficult — shooting better in the closing minutes. The Suns had their opportunities, but the ball bit into the rim far more than it did the net, resulting in a doomed comeback effort for the Phoenix side.
Bucks fans have wanted this for so long, yet never expected to win. This championship win is Milwaukee’s first since 1971 when the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson-led Bucks beat the Baltimore Bullets. Between now and then were 50 years of varying mediocrity, punctuated by an ephemeral moment of hope with Ray Allen 20 years ago. The Bucks were so miserable over the decades that the most exciting aspect of the franchise was their new jersey colors every several years — Christmas colors, purple, or a combination thereof. I still have a hideous, Barnie-esque purple and green Allen jersey from the ’90s. A sin against design, yes, but my dad got it for me at my first pro game.
Similar to Cubs fans after their 2016 World Series triumph, Bucks fans can find sufficient satisfaction with one title after all this time — it just feels good knowing our local franchise isn’t a laughingstock, or worse, unknown to the wider basketball audience. The NBA is a league of dynasties, yet there’s little chatter that these Bucks are one. Will the Bucks return to the Finals next year? Will the squad stay together in the offseason? A subject for another day. The Bucks won last night, and that’s more than good enough.