By Ariele Vaccaro
To go with a shiny new arena, the Milwaukee Bucks will have fresh, new uniforms.
Last Saturday, fans came out in force to a summer block party at Schlitz Park to catch the first glimpse of what will be the team’s new jersey.
At 2 p.m., a giant banner fell in a climactic flourish across the wall of an aged Schlitz building.
Streamers and confetti shot into the sky, falling on thousands of attendees below.
“That was one of the great moments in Bucks history,” said Bucks broadcaster Jim Paschke after the jerseys were revealed. “I’ll tell you, we haven’t had a crowd like that for a non-game event that I can recall.”
Pictured on the banner: Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo dressed in the simple, but sleek new uniforms. Above the players’ images reads the phrase “#OWNTHEFUTURE”: an appropriate hashtag for a team that could stand to forget the past and, instead, highlight the gains of a prosperous 2014-2015 season.
The forest green and bright white jerseys hearken back to team uniforms of the 80’s, sporting a rainbow of green, blue and cream-colored stripes down each side. Fans appreciated the throwback.
“Not too flashy, a definite improvement from the old jerseys,” said Patrick Lee, 27. Lee is a Greendale native and unflinching Bucks fan. He came to the block party with his friend and fellow fan Aaron Froh, 25, who was also pleased to see the new jersey’s design, in particular the nostalgic reference made by the cream city rainbow.
Some 3,500 people R.S.V.P’ed to the party on Facebook. It was the first block party in the team’s honor.
Fans didn’t just come for the jerseys, though. They watched as popular players like Antetokounmpo, Parker, and John Henson shot a few hoops with fans on a temporary court built over Galena Ave.
Catering by Davians maintained a healthy flow of beer and brats throughout the afternoon.
If one felt so inclined, he or she could even attempt to soak Bucks President Peter Feigin in a dunk tank.
Former players Vin Baker and Bob Dandridge made appearances to the block party.
Only two days beforehand, Wisconsin lawmakers gathered in Madison to declare the importance of the Bucks’ remaining in-state.
Governor Walker, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett all sang a similar tune: keep the Bucks in Wisconsin. Why?
Walker cited a $419 million loss to the state over the course of 20 years if the NBA keeps its promise and relocates the Bucks in the event that a new arena is not built by 2017.
According to a June 4 release from Walker’s office, the state will contribute no more than $80 million to the new arena.
The current owners – Wes Edens, James Dinan, and Marc Lasry – and the former – Herb Kohl – have pledged $250 million toward the project.
Heavier news like this didn’t seem to stomp out fans’ excitement on Saturday.
If anything, the block party made dedicated fans like Lee eager to hear future updates on the arena.