TOP News

Sports: Unified Milwaukee hosts NBA Finals 50 years after title run

'America's Got Talent' tops TV's Nielsen ratings

  'America's Got Talent' tops TV's Nielsen ratings NEW YORK (AP) — Competition at athletic venues dominated the agenda for television viewers last week, but none was as popular as a competition on stage. “America's Got Talent,” which is well-established as TV's favorite live show of the summer, reached seven million viewers last week with auditions for its 16th season on NBC, the Nielsen company said. ABC found some viewers for its premiere of “When Nature Calls,” where Helen Mirren narrates comedic film clips from the wild, a reboot of a BBC series. Otherwise, the NBA conference finals and Olympic trials drew many TV viewers. NBC won the week with an average of 3.5 million viewers in prime time.

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Much has changed in Milwaukee since the Bucks won their last NBA title a half-century ago.

a large crowd of people standing in front of a building © Provided by The Canadian Press

Nothing reflects the differences more than the melting pot of fans swarming together outside Fiserv Forum playoff games. Fans will flock there again Sunday in hopes of helping the Bucks rally from an 0-2 deficit in the NBA Finals when they host the Phoenix Suns in Game 3.

The diversity of the crowds is striking considering Milwaukee’s history.

“It forced those who were here, longtime Milwaukeeans, to look in the mirror – in particular those who didn’t want to believe it,” said Ramey, the executive director for MENTOR Milwaukee, a Bucks-backed organization that fosters mentorship programs for area youth.

Marv Albert gets warm sendoff from TNT colleagues after final broadcast

  Marv Albert gets warm sendoff from TNT colleagues after final broadcast The play-by-play announcer signs off one final time after 55 years of calling games.Albert was wrapping up his final call for the network, the Bucks' clinching victory over the Hawks in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals in Atlanta. Miller, his last analyst, briefly touched on what Albert contributed to the history of the NBA.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said he took no personal umbrage over Feigin’s 2016 comments. Barrett noted the diversity of his own administrative team while adding, “I’m also very cognizant of the fact we have a very large income gap, education gap, public safety gap in not only the city of Milwaukee but all of southeastern Wisconsin.”

Feigin believes what the Bucks have done off the court is at least as important as what they have accomplished on the court.

When asked what his proudest moment is with the Bucks, Feigin doesn’t mention the Eastern Conference title the team just won. He instead cites the players’ decision not to take the floor for a postseason game inside the bubble at Walt Disney World last summer last year following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Is Suns' playoff run a result of injuries? 'We're not here to justify what we're doing'

  Is Suns' playoff run a result of injuries? 'We're not here to justify what we're doing' Some league pundits believe the Lakers and Clippers would have beaten the Suns had their star players been healthy. Of course, the Suns don't agree.They say the Suns would not have advanced out of the first round had the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James and Anthony Davis been fully healthy and available. They say the Suns would not have won in the second round had the Denver Nuggets’ Jamal Murray never tore the ACL in his left knee. They say the Suns would not have become the NBA’s Western Conference champions had the LA Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard never suffered a right knee injury that kept him out of the entire series.

Their decision led to a leaguewide postponement of playoff games.

“It really kind of sparked a global pause and awareness for social justice,” Feigin said.

Barrett said the Bucks “embody not only the team spirit that you see with all the players, but they embody the community spirit of wanting to be a part of the community. It has been true since the day they got here.”

Bucks players engaging in social issues isn’t new.

Bob Dandridge, a recent Hall of Fame selection who played on the Bucks’ 1971 championship team and the 1974 squad that lost the NBA Finals to Boston, said there were plenty of outspoken players on those teams.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s activism inspired the NBA to give out a social justice award bearing his name. Oscar Robertson filed the lawsuit that helped bring free agency to the NBA. Dandridge also wasn’t shy about sharing his views.

The difference today, Dandridge says, is the support players receive from management.

Can you answer these real 'Jeopardy!' clues about politics?

  Can you answer these real 'Jeopardy!' clues about politics? Stacker gives you a chance to test your knowledge of U.S. politics and political history in the answer-as-a-question format "Jeopardy!" made famous, based on clues from actual episodes.

“I think it’s an entirely different approach as far as outspokenness with today’s owners and the owners back in the 70s when I was in Milwaukee,” Dandridge said.

Team executives also issued a statement standing behind then-Bucks guard Sterling Brown after Milwaukee police took him to the ground and shocked him with a Taser in January 2018 over a parking violation. Brown, one of the leaders of the Bucks’ playoff protest last year, sued the city and eventually reached a $750,000 settlement.

When Feigin took over as Bucks president in 2014 after Wes Edens, Marc Lasry and Jamie Dinan bought the team, the franchise was struggling.

Milwaukee’s 2001 Eastern Conference finals appearance marked the only time the Bucks advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs from 1990 to 2018. The Bucks were playing in the Bradley Center, one of the NBA’s oldest venues.

“It was like finding a unicorn, finding a Bucks fan six years ago,” said Sean Marus, a 28-year-old Bucks fan from the Milwaukee suburb of Wauwatosa.

Times have changed.

Marus was one of about 9,000 fans who poured into Fiserv Forum to watch on a video screen Tuesday as the Bucks played Game 1 of the NBA Finals at Phoenix. Bucks officials said another 20,000 fans gathered in the “Deer District” outside the three-year-old arena.

NBA: Giannis warns: "May not happen"

 NBA: Giannis warns: The Milwaukee Bucks is missing only a victory for the first championship for 50 years. Giannis Antetokounmpo is aware of the previous game 6 against the Phoenix Suns, but warns in advance. © Provided by Spox Giannis antetokounmpo wants to make the title perfect with the Bucks in Game 6. "It's not easy not to think about something like that, but now the time you have to be particularly disciplined," said Antetokounmpo on his press conference on Monday. "Exactly I try.

“It doesn’t matter what color you are,” Brandon Cunningham, a 27-year-old Milwaukee resident, said outside Fiserv Forum before Game 1. “Everybody’s here to support the Bucks.”

The Bucks have engaged in social change in Milwaukee and around the state.

Bucks players visited a prison last season to spotlight the need for criminal justice reform. The Bucks teamed up with the Sacramento Kings on a Team Up for Change summit featuring panel discussions on police brutality. They led a protest march through downtown Milwaukee following George Floyd’s death.

After Feigin made his comments about Milwaukee in 2016 while speaking at a Rotary Club event in Madison, Wisconsin, he later issued a statement noting he was referring to the city’s economic and geographic divides. As the mayor pointed out, those issues still exist.

Angela Lang, the executive director for the Milwaukee-based Black Leaders Organizing Communities, believes activists pushing back on issues such as police accountability, spending disparities and clean water has had an impact on unifying Milwaukee residents.

“Even though we’re I think a long way away from being perfect as a city, with that amount of activism and organizing, it feels like we could be on our way to something tangibly real in the next couple of years,” said Lang, whose organization encourages civic engagement from Black residents.

Did State Farm commercial predict Chris Paul's loss to Bucks in NBA Finals?

  Did State Farm commercial predict Chris Paul's loss to Bucks in NBA Finals? Unfortunately for Paul, State Farm wasn't there to help keep him from losing to the Bucks in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.The Suns point guard, playing in his first NBA Finals, bowed out Tuesday to champion Milwaukee, which got an incredible Game 6 outing from Giannis Antetokounmpo (50 points, 14 rebounds, five blocks). Conversely, Paul finished the game with 26 points, five assists and two rebounds and was minus-8.

Lang said the Bucks are a major part of the change.

“It does feel that they’re not just a team,” Lang said. “They’re actually embedded in part of our community.”

On the court, the Bucks’ run to the NBA Finals has boosted the city, which is reeling from the loss of last year’s Democratic National Convention due to the pandemic.

The Bucks’ turnaround began in 2013 when they drafted two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo with the 15th overall pick and acquired Khris Middleton from the Detroit Pistons. Before this season, the Bucks added guard Jrue Holiday, who has quickly made an impact on the city.

Holiday donated part of his 2019-20 salary to form the Jrue and Lauren Holiday Social Impact Fund with his wife. Their foundation recently opened a second round of funding to provide up to $1 million in grant money for Black-owned businesses and Black-led organizations in Milwaukee as well as the New Orleans, Indianapolis and Los Angeles areas.

His contributions have endeared himself to fans starving for a championship.

“They have made it known that this is just as important to them as it is to us,” Holiday said.

If the Bucks can find a way to win their first NBA title in 50 years, it would give Milwaukee residents of all backgrounds another reason to celebrate together.

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Steve Megargee, The Associated Press

Pau Gasol on how Kobe Bryant and Spanish team inspired quest to end career with gold medal .
Pau Gasol will team with his brother (Marc Gasol) and two other NBA players in hopes to win their first Olympic gold medal.In the past 18 months since Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash, Gasol no longer could lean on a trusted teammate and friend as he did when they won two NBA championships with the Lakers (2009, 2010). Still, Gasol could still rely on his own memories with how Bryant overcame injuries.

See also