The Milwaukee Bucks are NBA champions.
That alone is among the rarer feats of Milwaukee’s professional basketball franchise, which entered the league in 1968.
Until Tuesday night, the Bucks had exactly one NBA title under their belt, which happened in 1971.
When it comes to rarities, with the Bucks winning a title at home, the Fiserv Forum, ahead of their increasingly rabid fan base, also tops the list.
In fact, no major Milwaukee pro sports franchise had ever won a home championship until the Bucks beat the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night at the Fiserv Forum to win the NBA four-game-two crown.
The 1971 Bucks team, led by Hall of Fame Lew Alcindor (later to take the name Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and Oscar Robertson, won games one and three of the Championship Series at Milwaukee Arena while winning games two and four at the Baltimore. Civic Center to complete a Bullets sweep.
The Milwaukee Braves won the city’s only Major League Baseball title when they beat the New York Yankees 5-0 in Game 7 of the 1957 World Series at Yankee Stadium.
The Milwaukee Brewers have never won a World Series title, coming closest in 1982 when they lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games.
For this year’s Bucks team, coming back to win the Championship Series after losing the first two games was also out of the ordinary. The Bucks became only the third team to accomplish the feat, joining the Portland Trail Blazers of 1977 and the Miami Heat of 2006.
Seemingly unprecedented, too, the size of the crowd that gathered in the Deer District – the area adjacent to the Fiserv Forum – to cheer on the Bucks. What started out as a few thousand fans at the start of the playoffs turned into rallies of 10,000 or more as the Eastern Conference semi-finals series ended against the Brooklyn Nets.
When the Bucks expanded Deer District’s footprint to include the former Bradley Center site to the south, nighttime crowds reached nearly 25,000.
After the Bucks took a 3-2 lead over the Phoenix Suns in the final with a touching victory in the Arizona desert on Saturday night, team officials sensed the possibility of an even larger crowd at outside the arena for Game 6 in Milwaukee. When it was announced that the Deer District would be expanded to accommodate up to 65,000 people, some scoffed at the idea of many fans getting together in person to watch what could be the decisive game for the championship.
Wanting to be a part of the story, fans began to fill the Deer Quarter late in the afternoon on Tuesday and advising the expanded grounds filled to capacity.
“Tens of thousands of people who came downtown Tuesday to celebrate the Bucks victory did so safely and with respect,” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said. “We are counting on everyone to continue to responsibly revel in the coming days.”