It's been a very good month in Milwaukee. Summerfest and Bastille Days ended successful runs. The Brewers landed CC Sabathia and the Bucks traded for Richard Jefferson.
Because of these marquee names and events, Milwaukee, a city that we all know and love, is getting a ton of national publicity. Even some from an NBA star and blogger Gilbert Arenas, of the Washington Wizards.
I'm never one to believe that Milwaukee has the greatest national reputation. The fact is that cities our size usually fly a bit under the national media radar. That's fine.
But, reality is that too many people (sports "stars" included) have outdated or flat-out wrong impressions of what Milwaukee is. Add Arenas to this list.
Arenas writes a regular blog on nba.com called "Agent Zero: The Blog File." It's mildly entertaining, especially for big NBA fans like myself. Seems, though, that he isn't a big fan of the Mil.
In his July 14 blog, he writes about the many free agent signings and trades in the NBA, among other things. About new Bucks forward Richard Jefferson, he says:
"Richard Jefferson going to Milwaukee .... HAHAHA! Oh man, now that is funny. When I heard that, I started laughing. Oh man, did I start laughing. You know why? Because every player hates Milwaukee. Nobody wants to live in Milwaukee. I'm sorry, Milwaukee, to come down hard on you, but no one in the NBA wants to play in Milwaukee. From him going from New Jersey, actually from New York (because he lives in New York), from New York to Milwaukee is like going ... let's just say it's not going to sit well with you. That was a funny one when I heard that one. I know Yi is happy though."
"Every player" hates Milwaukee? Come on, Gilbert! It's no secret that Milwaukee isn't New York City or Chicago. But we aren't some two-cow town in Iowa either. It's tough, yes, for many corporations and sports teams to recruit "stars" to smaller market cities. But, the days of "Bush League" are gone and Milwaukee can and is competing. See forbes.com, which ranked Milwaukee the ninth best city for young professionals.
So, I take Arenas' comments with a proverbial grain of NBA salt and chalk them up to naivety and, frankly, a pure lack of first-hand perspective as to what Milwaukee is and isn't.
Arenas, by the way, just signed a new deal with the Wizards. It's reported to be a six-year, $111 million contract.
Use the talk backs to react. Maybe Arenas will read some of them while he's surfing the Web to find fodder for his next blog.
A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.
He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.
Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.
He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.
He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.