Since the Bucks’ last NBA title, half a century ago, Milwaukee has seen a lot of change.
The crowds of supporters gathered outside Fiserv Forum playoff games is a great way to reflect the diversity. The Bucks will be there Sunday to rally from a 0-2 deficit in the NBA Finals. They host the Phoenix Suns in Game 3.
Milwaukee’s history has created a remarkable diversity in the crowds.
Team President Peter Feigin retracted five years ago after calling Milwaukee “the worst segregated and racist place I’ve ever seen in my life.”But LaNelle Ramey, a native of Milwaukee — a Black man — feels it was necessary to say it.
Ramey, executive director of MENTOR Milwaukee (a Bucks-funded organization that supports mentorship programs for youth in the area), said, “It forced those here, long-time Milwaukeeans to look in the mirror – in particular those who didn’t want to believe it.”
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett stated that he did not take personal offense to Feigin’s comments in 2016. Barrett acknowledged the diversity in his own administrative team, while adding that he was “very cognizant of how large the income gap, education gap and public safety gap is not just in Milwaukee, but throughout southeastern Wisconsin.”
Feigin believes that the Bucks’ achievements off the court are at least as important than what they did on it.
Feigin, when asked about his proudest moment with the Bucks doesn’t mention winning the Eastern Conference title. Instead, he cites the decision of the players not to take the court for a postseason match inside the bubble at Walt Disney World after Jacob Blake was shot in Kenosha.
They decided to postpone all playoff games across the league.
Feigin stated that “it really kind of sparked an international pause and awareness for socio justice.”
Barrett stated that the Bucks embody not only team spirit as seen with all players, but also the community spirit of wanting be part of the community. Since their inception, it has been true.”
It’s not new for Bucks players to engage in social issues.
Bob Dandridge is a member of the Hall of Fame who was a player on the Bucks’ 1971 champion team and on the 1974 squad that lost to Boston in the NBA Finals.