Bucks Fans Keep The Celebration Going For NBA Champs

Parade Scheduled For 11 AM Thursday In Downtown Milwaukee

A sea of fans stands can be seen in front of the Fiserv Forum.
Fans fill the Deer District outside the Fiserv Forum where the Bucks would play game six against the Phoenix Suns with a chance to win the NBA Championship on Tuesday, July 20, 2021, in Milwaukee, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

Just like fans across Wisconsin, Nick Howard is celebrating the Milwaukee Bucks claiming the NBA championship Tuesday night. But for Howard and his sons, the win had a special meaning.

Howard’s wife died in January. He said attending Game 6 with his 18- and 27-year-old sons was the first time the family has found happiness.

“We had a rough year, so it was what we needed,” Howard said.

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Howard was back in downtown Milwaukee’s Deer District outside the Fiserv Forum on Wednesday to buy some championship apparel. He said the Bucks’ playoff run leading up to the NBA Finals win was something Milwaukee needed.

“It brought everybody together,” said Howard, who is Black. “It had me standing next to an older white man, with my arm around him, singing. There was no liquor, and we didn’t notice that until the end of the game. We were just — it was a vibe.”

Comparing photos from Tuesday night when the Deer District had more than 60,000 fans cheering for the Bucks, the area looked nearly vacant Wednesday afternoon, but there were still a few hundred people milling around, taking photos and standing in line to buy merchandise.

Tony Fahres, of Fox Point, and his son, Oliver, were hoping to buy hats, T-shirts and a pennant for Oliver’s room.

Oliver, 9, watched the first half of Game 6.

“I was watching it calmly, then I got tired and went to bed,” Oliver said. “I woke up early and checked on my iPad. I was so excited that they won.”

Maggie Kellogg, with the PEAK Initiative summer day care program, said she decided to take her first and second graders on an impromptu field trip to the Deer District after the win because they were so excited.

The group of about 20 posed in front of the Fiserv Forum and yelled “Milwaukee Bucks!”

Even outside of Wisconsin, the Bucks were getting praised for their first NBA title in 50 years.

Both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris tweeted out congratulations.

The celebration for the team will continue with a parade through the Deer District at 11 a.m. Thursday.

Bucks players, coaches, owners, alumni and staff will take part in the parade, which will begin at the intersection of East Wisconsin Avenue and North Prospect Avenue. The parade will then proceed west on East Wisconsin Avenue before turning north onto North Water Street. From there, the route will continue on North Water Street to East Knapp Street before ending on East Knapp Street at the Milwaukee River.

Following the parade, a championship celebration will be held in Deer District located directly north of Fiserv Forum between Vel R. Phillips Avenue and Fifth Street. The anticipated start time of the championship celebration is 12:30 p.m.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to come to the center of our city and honor the victorious Bucks,” Mayor Tom Barrett said. “The team has brought Milwaukee together in a special way, shining positive, worldwide attention on our community. This is a time to celebrate with enthusiasm!”