A new era dawned in Milwaukee when Bucks owner Herb Kohl sold the team to the investment team of Marc Lasry and Wes Edens. That was the first step in the long and frustrating process of changing the culture of the stagnant Bucks. We had not won a playoff series since 2001, although we did make first round exits on 03, 04, 06, and 2010. From being stuck in the worst place to be in the NBA: the middle. We were not quite good enough to do anything in the playoffs but not quite bad enough to get a lottery pick. Our Bucks were a team of predictability and mediocrity. However, we have seen a brand new team assembled piece by piece right before our very eyes.
The new era we have entered into officially began on April 16, 2014, the day Kohl sold to Lasry & Edens. Following the ownership shift came changes to the team’s colors, logo, coach, stadium, and most importantly: culture. This culture change has bred a new spark for the team, a team I’m officially declaring as the New Bucks. The years of satisfaction with middle-of-the-pack finishes have been replaced with a yearly expectation to make at least a good playoff run. Instead of the tried and true red and green we now have a new, vibrant color scheme accompanied by a fresh, sleek logo. The ever-reliable Bradley Center gave way to a new modern marvel of architecture in the Fiserv Forum (or as I encourage people call it: the Four-One-Forum). But flashy colors and Mezzanine overlooks can only do so much. We fired our head coach, general manager, and superstar. Instead of Larry Drew, John Hammond, and Brandon Jennings, the New Bucks boast the names of Budenholzer, Horst, and Antetokounmpo. All these changes have pushed the Bucks from consistently playoff possible to a group that should finish with no less than a 3 seed in the weakened Eastern Conference.
We should be proud of how we have gone about building our team. Rather than flashing a bunch of money in the faces of big time free agents, we cleaned house, rebuilt from the bottom, and went through our years of losing records. But now it is time for us to reap the rewards of our patient work by making a serious run in the playoffs and possibly competing for a championship. We are finally on the cusp. The ugly weed of stagnation and mediocrity was ripped out by the roots and in its place the seeds of competitiveness, passion, and winning were planted. Opposing teams will no longer make the game winning shot over our defenders outstretched fingertips. No, instead our New Bucks read the pass, jump the lane, and force that key turnover to seal the game. Gone are the days of players pursing their lips while high-fiving frustrated teammates after missing a crucial free throw to put the game away. No more dejected fans walking out of the Bradley Center lamenting the teams performance while reciting the phrases “we’re young” or “just wait until we develop.” Those days are over. We have developed and we’re only going to improve. New Bucks force that turnover, they sink that free throw, and they send their fans out cheering in the streets beaming with pride knowing that Milwaukee Bucks Basketball is back. This team is ready to win right now and thanks to the utter dismantling of our old culture, followed by the complete and total installation of our New Bucks, we will. Go Bucks!
By: Brad Bosak