MILWAUKEE — There’s no denying it: the hype in Milwaukee is through the roof since it was announced that 7-time NBA All-Star Damian Lillard was traded to the Bucks for a package including Jrue Holiday, Grayson Allen and future draft picks. To celebrate his arrival, an estimated 5,000+ people packed Deer District outside of Fiserv Forum to cheer for Lillard as he arrived at his new home arena for the first time since being traded.
The Damian Lillard Welcome Rally, hosted by the Milwaukee Bucks organization, saw most fans arriving around 2 p.m. — hours before the superstar would arrive around 5:40 p.m. — to play games, dance, drink and enjoy each other’s company amid sky-high levels of excitement.
Among those in attendance were Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson, County Executive David Crowley, Bucks’ 2022 first-round pick MarJon Beauchamp and team representatives like Buck President Peter Feigin and GM Jon Horst.
Certain sentiments were shared by the diverse crowd, which included people both young and old from all different backgrounds united in their love of Bucks basketball. Fans were sad to see Holiday go but were intensely excited for Lillard with many fans citing that the team desperately needed a closer.
Damian Lillard is exactly that. A 33-year-old native of Oakland, California, Lillard is an 11-year NBA veteran who was dubbed Rookie of the Year coming out of Weber State in the 2012-13 NBA season. He went on to make seven All-Star and All-NBA teams, averaging 25.2 points per game, which ranks 6th among active players.
With that type of resume, it’s hard to temper fans’ expectations. Many of them in attendance expressed that they expect the team to go far in the Playoffs, with some going as far as to say it’s a lock that they win the 2023 NBA championship.
With a superstar duo like Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo leading your team, it’s hard to think otherwise.
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