Not sure if you've heard about these guys or not--but the Milwaukee Bucks are a win away from making the second round of the NBA playoffs. No team has fallen farther off the Wisconsin sports landscape than the Bucks--thanks to a decade of mediocrity (and worse). But all of a sudden, the Bradley Center is the place to be in Milwaukee.
Tons of credit goes to General Manager John Hammond, who has cleaned up the mess left behind by his inept predecessor Larry Harris. Hammond brought in Scott Skiles--a hardnosed coach who has instilled an attitude that the losing is over in Milwaukee. His decision to draft Brandon Jennings--who skipped college ball in the US to languish on the bench in Europe--is a stroke of genius (so far). Not since Lew Alcindor graced the floor of the old MECCA has a rookie had this great an impact on the Bucks franchise. Hammond's mid-season trade for John Salmons has also brought much-needed toughness to the team.
As for Brandon--he is a superstar in the making--something Milwaukee has been lacking for about a decade now. I just happened upon the second half of his 50-point game against Golden State early in the season--and could not turn the channel--because he was just putting on a show. Now to figure our how to keep him from getting hurt--like every other star the franchise has had.
Even the team marketing is getting better. Gone are the ugly purple and green jerseys--replaced by the classic red and greens worn by Kareem and the Big O. Even Bango the mascot has become a national sensation--as video of his backflip dunk from the top of a 20-foot ladder has gone viral on the internet.
I know you proabably forgot that we had an NBA team here in Wisconsin. Rediscover them tonight on ESPN as they try to get past Atlanta and into the second round.