Thursday night marks a special night for the Milwaukee Bucks, as the team returns to play in the arena that has hosted the most iconic moments in franchise history. The Mecca, as it was known, was the home floor of the Bucks from 1968 to 1988 before the Bradley Center opened its doors in 89′. The Bucks lone NBA Championship team (1971) played in this building, and on the same floor (see above) that the current version will get the chance to play on when the Celtics come to town tomorrow night.
Lew Alcindor, Oscar Robertson, Sidney Moncrief, Bob Dandridge and Junior Bridgeman are some of the most recognisable names amongst all NBA fans. They made the Mecca their playground. Jon McGlocklin and Marques Johnson, two current Bucks TV announcers and all-time Milwaukee basketball legends have hardly been able to contain their excitement during broadcasts when this night gets brought up – and why should they?
You can just feel this night means so much to everyone who has contributed to the franchise during the Mecca years, and as a fan, thats why it’s so exciting for me personally. I wasn’t alive during the years the Bucks played on the famous Mecca floor, and can only claim to have found the Bucks when the sweet shooting Ray Allen caught my eye in the early 2000’s. I immediately fell in love with the team and have only grown fonder by the year.
When i first heard about this game, i desperately wanted to try and find a way to get there from Australia. I wanted to feel the energy, the excitement, the old and the new coming together. I wanted to see Giannis live, continue his ascension to the top of the list of Milwaukee greats, on the floor that Lew Alcindor won three NBA MVP awards, and the Finals MVP in Milwaukee’s lone NBA Championship. Ive been fortunate enough to make this a reality as I type this blog from the air, en route to Milwaukee; I can barely contain my excitement with what lies ahead.
Caught up in all the emotion of the night is the fact the 3-1 Bucks, currently good for 2nd in the East, face a formidable, albeit undermanned rival in the Boston Celtics who have recovered from an 0-2 start to win their last two contests. Despite losing star free agent recruit Gordon Hayward to the season, its been the play of rookie Jayson Tatum and sophomore Jaylen Brown that has quickly renewed hope for Boston fans. In the last two games, the young duo have combined for 69 points and 24 rebounds, impressive numbers to say the least.
Boston however, will need to do something that no team has even come close to achieving: containing the Greek Freak. Through four games, Antetokounmpo is averaging 37 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists – unprecedented numbers. Giannis is two games away from joining Marques Johnson and Lew as the only Bucks to ever put together a six game streak of 30 points or more (shame he couldn’t join Marques while playing at the Mecca). Antetokounmpo has surged into MVP favouritism and looms larger then ever heading into yet another marquee national broadcast game (TNT).
This blog is only just getting off the ground, and i am still working out what it’s identity really is. I’ve taken a pre-game preview approach, attempting to highlight some of the low-key (but in my opinion) big issues surrounding the team. But, this game is different, it’s special and it’s historic. The modern day Bucks are turning back the clock, reliving the glory days of past seasons and boy am i excited to witness it live.
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