(WFRV) – It’s not normal, but it’s closer to normal. On Monday the Bucks went five-on-five for the first time since the season was suspended back in March.
“I think anytime you’re playing five-on-five for the first time there’s maybe a tiny bit of rust, but overall I was really pleased with the guys, how they played, the way they played. I think overall it was a real positive. To say they’re ready to go play a 48 minute game would probably be a stretch, but it was a good start,” said head coach Mike Budenholzer.
Guard Khris Middleton said a few weeks ago he had not touched a basketball in months, the longest time frame he could remember in his life, after the pandemic began. Now he, like the rest of his Bucks teammates, is getting ready for the NBA’s restart in the Orlando bubble.
“Feels good. Of course the first couple of times we were a little rusty, which I’m sure everybody was. Being back in the gym is great, we’re working hard every day to get to where we want to be. So, I don’t think that time frame is really going to hold us back. Right now we’re playing hard, fast and hard, encouraging each other and making each other better. We know everybody’s going through the same thing, it’s going to be whoever is the strongest,” said Middleton.
Other NBA teams went right into practicing five-on-five, for the most part, after being allowed to practice in Orlando. The Bucks on the other hand weren’t as quick, focusing on individual work at the beginning in a build up to today’s five-on-five practice.
“You know, coach Bud always used the term ‘fake hustle.’ You know like, we not going to just be out there going hard for an hour, and just putting a lot of pressure on our bodies. We got to be able to work smart, efficient, and coach Bud is all about that,” said Giannis Antetkounmpo.
Making a statement
Antetkounmpo also revealed on Monday he will be wearing “equality” on the back of his jersey. That’s after the NBA will allow players make a statement in regards to racial injustice and the Black Lives Matter Movement on their jerseys.
“Yeah, I’ve thought about it. What I’m going to wear on the back of my jersey is “equality.” That’s what we decide, the majority of the team, so that’s what me and some guys are going to wear on the back of our jersey,” said Antetokounmpo.
What star players wear on their jerseys became a topic after Lakers’ LeBron James said he will continue to wear his last name “James” on the back of his jersey.
“I would have loved to have a say-so on what would have went on the back of my jersey,” James said. “I had a couple of things in mind, but I wasn’t part of that process, which is OK. … Everything that I do has a purpose, has a meaning. I don’t need to have something on the back of my jersey for people to understand my mission or know what I’m about and what I’m here to do.”
Bucks guards Khris Middleton and Kyle Korver have indicated they will have “Black Lives Matter” on the back of their jerseys when games resumes on July 31st.