MILWAUKEE – Thousands of fans lined the streets of downtown Milwaukee Thursday to celebrate with their beloved Bucks in a parade for the city’s first NBA title in 50 years.
Six mounted policemen on horseback led a procession that included an advancing fire truck honking its horn, and roofless double-decker buses and flatbed trucks carrying the stars of the Bucks – including the MVP of the Finals. the NBA, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Jrue Holiday – as well as the trophy they earned Tuesday night with a win over the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 of the series.
Fans chanted “Bucks in six,” an unusual but adored calling that has its roots in an unsuccessful prediction by a former Bucks player in 2013 that the team would knock out the top seed of the playoffs back then.
Antetokounmpo carried his one-year-old son Liam aboard a roofless bus as fans along the route chanted “MVP.” Later, he threw a ball to the public.
“Milwaukee, we did it! We did it! ”Antetokounmpo yelled to frantic onlookers in the Deer District, the area outside the Fiserv Forum, home of the Bucks. “This is our city, this is our city, man, we did it! Amazing!”.
Neil and Rachana Bhatia, both 34, from Waukesha, a city outside of Milwaukee, took their one-month-old son Zain to the Deer District, noting that they wanted to give Zain a first glimpse of what it means being a Bucks fan.
Neil Bhatia considered that the conquest of the title was “surrealist”.
“This unifies the city and brings it to a global stage. It’s great for the city and the state. It just brings everyone together to celebrate something that hasn’t happened in 50 years, ”he said.
“The city has had its problems. What I know is it’s been a coming together city, ”said Dameon Ellzey, a 45-year-old Milwaukee native who lives near the arena and has long been a Bucks fan.
“In my neighborhood you could hear everyone screaming with happiness from their porches,” Ellzey added. “Black, white, Asian people. In a city like Milwaukee, it’s huge. “
Milwaukee has long been considered one of the most segregated cities in America. The team’s president, Peter Feigin, even called it “the most segregated and most racist place” he has ever known, comments that he later toned down.
The team’s rise has reinvigorated a city in the north central region of the United States far from the league’s cosmopolitan headquarters, such as Los Angeles or Boston.
Fans have grown fond of Antetokounmpo after the Greek showed his loyalty by deciding to stay on the team that chose him eight years ago with the 15th overall pick in the draft when he was just an 18-year-old teenager.
The festivities ended outside the Fiserv Forum, where, according to police figures, approximately 100,000 people gathered Tuesday night to watch the Bucks beat the Suns in Game 6 and win the league championship.