Tonight we went to the Milwaukee Bucks home opener. Now it’s not something we normally do. As anyone who as ever attended an NBA game knows, they are not affordable. It is not family entertainment. At least not like Major League Baseball, which still has affordable seats.
The seats we sat in, the nosebleed seats, the seats where the players seemed like ants, still cost $29 a piece.
We were lucky. We got them at a discount at $15 a piece.
Why? So nice of you to ask. I’m not sure of the exact chronology of events, nor was I privy to any of the conversations that led to our being there.
What I do know is that whoever was scheduled to do something before the basketball game could not make it. Somehow, someone affiliated with my son’s school got their foot in the door and the Fifth Grade and Sixth Grade boy’s and girl’s basketball teams were featured in the Small Fry basketball game immediately before the regular game.
My 12-year-old son, Brett, is on the boy’s Sixth Grade team. We watched the kids run up and down a regulation NBA court and score hoops on the same court where some of the great names of basketball have played: Michael Jordon, Charles Barkley, Shaq, and so on. They got to score on the same court that the Bucks play on.
And we, as the parents, got to sit close enough that while the NBA team practiced, I was this close to Yi Jianlian, their new acquisition.
It’s the Bucks 40th anniversary. I had given up on basketball for a number of years. As a kid and teen, I experienced our city getting an NBA franchise, and then, in what might still be a sporting record, watched that team become Champions in the shortest timeframe.
As a child I watched the greats play. Lew Alcinder, who later changed his name to Kareem Abdul Jabar. The Big O, Oscar Robertson, Jon McGlocklin, and Bobby Dandridge. These were my childhood heroes. I so wanted to be like them I spent every day shooting baskets at the local school yard until I realized I wasn’t anywhere near tall enough.
I hope one day my own son gets to experience a championship with the current team. But even if he doesn’t, I’m positive the memory of playing on this court before a large hometown crowd cheering their every basket, will be a happy, exciting memory he keeps for a long time.