The Bucks are Back. Here’s What to Expect at Opening Night

Show up early to see the ring ceremony and championship banner unveiling.

The Milwaukee Bucks’ celebration of their first NBA crown in 50 years will continue with season-opening festivities Tuesday night at Fiserv Forum prior to the team’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.

A ring ceremony and the unveiling of the 2020-21 championship banner will take place immediately before tip-off.

Bucks owners, players, coaches and front office staff will receive their championship rings during the pregame ceremony on the Fiserv Forum court beginning at 5:45 p.m. The banner will be unveiled in the west rafters of the arena immediately after the ring ceremony.

Former Bucks television play-by-play announcer Jim Paschke will serve as master of ceremonies, with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also set to attend and give remarks.

Fans with tickets to the game are encouraged to arrive early and be in their seats by 5:45 p.m. The first 10,000 fans to attend Tuesday’s game will also receive a commemorative championship banner presented by Klement’s Sausage. Doors at Fiserv Forum will open at 5 p.m. Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m.

The Bucks will host an outdoor watch party in the Deer District outside Fiserv Forum with a large video screen set up on the north end of the plaza. Gates to the Deer District watch party will open at 5 p.m.

Commemorative championship rings and jewelry will be available for fans to purchase at Bucks.com or at the Bucks Pro Shop.

It’s been almost three months to the day that the Bucks defeated the Phoenix Sun 105-98 at Fiserv Forum to capture the franchise’s first NBA Championship since 1971, winning the NBA Finals series four games to two.

The Bucks championship run was 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 is the worst record in franchise history.

The Bucks will begin their title defense against the talented Nets, led by Kevin Durant, in a rematch of last season’s thrilling seven-game Eastern Conference Semifinals series. After being down three games to two, Milwaukee won the final two games of the series to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Including the playoffs, the Bucks have won their last five home games over the Nets.

Over the last three seasons, the Bucks have the best record (162-65) and the most playoff wins (31) in the NBA. Milwaukee has also been the highest scoring team in the league during this span, averaging 118.9 points per game.

NBA Finals Most Valuable Player and two-time regular season MVP Antetokounmpo begins his ninth season in the NBA, all with Milwaukee. He has averaged at least 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in each of the last three seasons.

By winning Finals MVP, Antetokounmpo, who is just 26 years old, joined Michael Jordan as the only players in NBA history to win multiples league MVPs, an NBA Finals MVP and a Defensive Player of the Year award.

Mike Budenholzer begins his fourth season as head coach of the Bucks, having led the team through one of the most successful three-year stretches in franchise history. Budenholzer’s 162 regular season wins are already tied for fifth-most by any coach in Bucks history. His 31 playoff victories are third-most. Budenholzer also reached his 100th and 150th wins with Milwaukee faster than any other coach in team history.

The Bucks return nine players from last season’s championship roster, including all five starters from their most-used starting lineup during the regular season (Antetokounmpo, Middleton, Jrue Holiday, Donte DiVincenzo and Brook Lopez), and two of the team’s top players off the bench in Pat Connaughton and Bobby Portis Jr.

These nine returning players accounted for 84% of Milwaukee’s scoring last season. New to this year’s lineup are free agent acquisitions George Hill, who returns to the Bucks after playing in 106 games with Milwaukee during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons, Grayson Allen, Rodney Hood and Semi Ojeleye, in addition to two draft picks, Georgios Kalaitzakis and Sandro Mamukelashvili.

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Rich Rovito is a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine.