The Milwaukee Bucks captured their first NBA crown in 50 years on Tuesday night when they defeated the Phoenix Sun 105-98 at Fiserv Forum.
A boisterous sellout crowd inside the arena and a massive throng off fans outside in the Deer District cheered on the Bucks, who captured the series 4-2.
The Deer District, which had been revamped over the past few days to accommodate as many as 65,000 spectators – up from a previous capacity of 25,500 – transformed into a giant street party as fans screamed “Bucks in Six,” a common refrain during the team’s unprecedented playoff run.
The mass of humanity in and around Fiserv Forum created a surreal scene considering that the Bucks started the season in December playing in an empty arena due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Bucks championship run has been fueled by longtime teammates Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. In the 2013-14 season, the rookie campaign for the “Greek Freak,” the Bucks won just 15 games. The team’s 15-67 mark that season as the worst record in franchise history.
To lend some perspective, the Bucks won 16 games just during this playoff run. The Bucks compiled a 46-26 record during the regular season, good enough to earn the third seed in the Eastern Conference for the playoffs.
The half-century drought has been agonizing for Bucks fans. Milwaukee captured its lone NBA crown in 1971 when a team featuring Lew Alcindor (who later took the name Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and Oscar Robertson led Milwaukee to a sweep of the Baltimore Bullets.
Prior to this season, Milwaukee had last appeared in an NBA Finals in 1974 when the team lost in seven games to the Boston Celtics.
The road to the title hasn’t been a cakewalk. The Bucks swept the Miami Heat in the first round. In the Eastern Conference semifinals, Milwaukee fell into a 2-0 hole to the Brooklyn Nets before fighting back and capturing the series with a compelling Game 7 overtime victory in New York.
Milwaukee knocked off the Atlanta Hawks four games to two in the Eastern Conference Finals, setting up the matchup with the Suns for the NBA title.
The Bucks lost the first two games of the series in Phoenix but stormed back to win four in a row to win it all, making “Bucks in Six” a reality once again this post-season.