I took my grandson Charlie to the Bucks game Saturday night and we were close enough to the floor to watch the game, but also to see the expressions on the face of the players.
I was reminded once again, how utterly clueless the people are who say that NBA players don't try and just go through the motions and that the game is a boring sport filled with thugs.
The game against Memphis was an important one for the Bucks. They trailed the New York Knicks by one and one-half games for a spot in the playoffs. The Knicks were playing, and leading by a healthy margin, the woeful Cleveland Cavaliers. The Bucks needed a win to keep from dropping another game back of the Knicks.
The Bucks led early but fell behind by a little in the fourth quarter. They started a little rally when Drew Gooden had the ball at the top of the key and threw a pass to Mike Dunleavy which sailed out of bounds.
Watching Gooden's face as he came back up the court, watching him angrily slap his hands together and then hit his forehead, you could tell this was a man who was very, very upset about his mistake.
A short time later Brandon Jennings missed a dunk then responded with a huge effort to get the ball and throw it into the basket as he fell back to the floor. You could see the embarrassment on his face as plain as day.
Maybe all the doubters just need to see a professional basketball game up close to get a real feel for it. I love college basketball, but it doesn't even bear a resemblance to the professional game as far as speed, skill, toughness and drama.
The Bradley Center was nearly filled for the game and even though it wasn't the liveliest crowd I've ever heard, the power of the fans could be felt at floor level. The roar for something good, the groan for a mistake or a big basket by the Grizzlies was the kind of sound that makes teeth rattle.
The Grizzlies are a big, strong team with players who look like they just stepped out of a weight room. The Bucks are smaller and the battle between Milwaukee's speed and the Grizzlies bulk was a classic match-up.
On an "exciting play- per-minute scale," nothing comes close to rivaling the NBA.
In football you've got time between plays to catch your breath. In baseball you wonder if you are still breathing. But in the NBA you find yourself panting with the pace of the game.
I'm reminded of all of this because of the emotional and intellectual struggles this city is going through regarding the building of a new arena to allow the Bucks to compete on a financial basis with the rest of the league.
How in the world the same people who supported building Miller Park as a way to help the Brewers compete can't have the same passion about the Bucks is beyond me.
Something is at play here that I don't recognize.
Nothing matches the NBA and a Bucks game on a Saturday night. Granted, there are things that could be done by the league to make things more attractive – shorten the season by a little bit, for one thing.
But losing this team would be a terrible blow to the image of Milwaukee, which needs all the positive help it can get.
With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.
He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.
This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as OnMilwaukee.com keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.
Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.