‘Tails’ from the Deer District: What it was like amongst 65k fans for the Bucks’ first title in 50 years

Local News

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WFRV) – A two-hour drive, an agonizing attempt to find anywhere to park, waiting in line for an eternity to use a porta-potty, lines at concession stands longer than those at the DMV or standing for 5+ hours could not put a damper on an unrivaled and one-of-a-kind sporting experiences to be a part of.

April 27, 2013 – The Milwaukee Bucks are playing the Miami Heat in Game 4 in the NBA Playoffs. Monta Ellis just hit a layup to cut the lead to 69-67 with 9 minutes and 34 seconds left in the fourth quarter and has a chance to convert an and-1.

I was in attendance for that game with my younger brother (tickets also cost a minuscule $38.60), and this was the series that Brandon Jennings famously coined the phrase ‘Bucks in Six’.

The Bucks would end up losing the game (and the series in four games), but the franchise would forever change in the offseason. The Bucks would select Giannis Antetokounmpo and trade Brandon Jennings for Brandon Knight and an unknown youngster named Khris Middleton.

The following year I purchased my first season tickets for the 2013-14 season. That decision to buy those tickets created and transformed an interest in the Bucks, into a passion. That passion I passed down to my brothers as they constantly attended Bucks games with me.

I would also end up buying season tickets the following year (Jason Kidd’s first year as the Bucks coach), but that would be my last year as a Bucks season ticket holder as pricing played a bigger role as the team’s success improved.

Fast forward eight years, and I was in attendance at the Deer District with the Bucks having a chance to win their first NBA Championship in 50 years. 64,999 joined me to have one of the most electric atmospheres I have been around.

Having driven down to Milwaukee multiple times, the drive is relatively simple. Take I-43 South all the way down and exit at Highland Avenue and make the extremely short drive to the parking structure near the Pabst Theater.

That plan was quickly tossed out the window as the ramp was full, and there were so many cars and traffic that made Green Bay Packer traffic look like an open highway. After taking nearly an hour to drive a measly half-mile, we parked on a street that was a mile away from Fiserv Forum.

As a side note, when we first started parking at the parking garage there was nothing in the area, but it is now filled with hotels, breweries, housing units and the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Sports Science Center.

The walk was simple and the weather was gorgeous, as we got closer to the arena you could feel the crowd and its anticipation to get the game started. As we passed security and entered the Deer District, finding bathrooms was our first goal.

I cannot stress this enough, the bathrooms were a disaster. However, when you have 65,000 people in a confined space and what seemed like 30 (at most) porta-potties, there are bound to be issues. We initially waited in line for about 45 minutes and barely moved at all. Sometimes there would even be three to four people using the porta-potty together.

As the clock started to approach tip-off, we gave up and headed to the center of Deer District to watch the game. Noticing the lines for the bathrooms were shorter we quickly jumped in and waited. The game started as we were in line, but we were in and out relatively quickly.

The crowd was electric from the tip. There were constant ‘Bucks in six’ chants to go along with the cheering after every basket and defensive stop. It was loud early, mainly because the Bucks jumped out to a 13 point lead after one quarter.

In what can best be described as the concerning part of the game, the second quarter had more than its fair share of missed baskets from the Bucks. There were groans and ‘oh-no’s’ from the crowd as the Bucks entered halftime down five.

One of the screens in the Deer District temporarily was disabled when the third quarter started as most of us were left to decipher the game based on the cheers from people at the Mecca. The Mecca is a bar that is within breathing distance of Deer District.

The screen finally turned back on to thunderous applause with 7:30 left in the third quarter and the Bucks up three. This is when the crowd started to turn it up.

Whether it was Bobby Portis hitting a three-pointer or Brook Lopez having a mind-melting dunk, the crowd erupted at every chance. Some of the loudest chants were ‘Bobby, Bobby, Bobby, Bobby’ when Portis would make a basket or do anything of relevance.

Ever since I have been attending Bucks games they have done the Seven Nation Army chant to kick off the fourth quarter. The crowd, as you can see in the video below, was roaring and singing along with the chant. I had goosebumps as I joined in.

Personally, when Middleton hit a jumper with just under a minute left in the game to put the Bucks up six is when I started to realize that the Bucks would win. The crowd knew it too, as we were ready to explode in celebration.

By this time, multiple people climbed nearby poles as well as merchandise stands. One of the more enjoyable scenes of the evening was watching a guy in a Kris Bryant jersey climb a pole only for the crowd to realize he was wearing a Cubs jersey and immediately started throwing water bottles and whatever they could find at him.

As the final seconds ticked off and fireworks boomed in the background, the atmosphere was nearly indescribable. The video below can recount what that was like.

While the crowd was not necessarily tearing down buildings, they couldn’t contain their excitement and began passing metal barriers, posing for pictures, climbing anything they could find high-fiving/celebrating with anyone and everyone.

As the crowd started to thin out (barely), we moved up closer and watched the trophy presentation. Secretly I was hoping that some of the Bucks players would come out to the Deer District, just so they could witness the booming noise the crowd was making all evening.

As it became clear that they weren’t, we posed for a few pictures with Fiserv and fireworks in the background and made our way out. As we left, our old friends, the porta-potties, reintroduced themselves as the stench emanating from them can only be described as ‘putrid’.

Based on what we saw as we walked past them, it appeared that maybe one (or more) could have overflowed and leaked onto the pavement.

Reminiscing and still trying to comprehend that the Bucks just won their first title in 50 years we started our one-mile walk back to our vehicle. I just want to type that phrase again, but in all caps and bold.

THE BUCKS JUST WON THEIR FIRST TITLE IN 50 YEARS.

Traffic was much more reasonable on our way home as we were able to get onto I-43 North quickly.

It is hard to imagine that merely three weeks ago (from Tuesday) it looked like Giannis would miss the rest of the playoffs and even all of next season with that gruesome-looking knee injury.

I attended Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Atlanta in what I thought would be my most important game in Bucks history that I attended, but nearly a mere month later I was able to cheer along with 64,999 fellow fans as the Bucks won their second NBA Championship.

In the now immortal words of Jennings:

‘Bucks in 6″

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