5,000+ fans welcome NBA All-Star Damian Lillard to Milwaukee during rally outside Fiserv Forum on Saturday
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Basketball fans, Bucks fans, and everyone in between -- it is officially Dame Time in Milwaukee.
On Saturday, 7-time NBA All-Star Damian Lillard made his first appearance in the Brew City during a welcome rally hosted by the Milwaukee Bucks organization.
With his three young children by his side, Lillard was greeted by around 5,000 adoring fans, many of whom had spent hours in the heat waiting for his arrival.
Among those included Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley, Bucks President Peter Feigin, and MarJon Beauchamp, the team's 2022 first-round pick.
"Damian Lillard is a freaking Buck now, which is the most insane thing ever!" said Garrett Pagel from Two Rivers, Wisconsin. "He was the first jersey I ever got, the first player I ever followed on social media. He's the reason I watch the NBA."
Pagel's sentiments were echoed by fans like Christiaan Corcroft, who made sure to come to the rally early to get a coveted spot along the fence line.
“It’s still kind of mind boggling that we actually got him but it’s just a really good feeling because we’re just going to have some extra fire power along with the best player in the world, Giannis, and plus with Khris and everybody it’s just a really good feeling to be out here," Corcroft said. "It’s a good jolt after having such a heartbreaking loss earlier in the year.”
11-year-old Alex Goldstein described Lillard as "the Steph Curry of the east" while eight-year-old Jerianna said she knew "he's a really good basketball player."
Fans like Brock Crapitto of Franklin headed straight inside of the Bucks Pro Shop to purchase one of the coveted Lillard jerseys on display.
"I still can't believe like this is a real actual jersey!" Crapitto said. "It's unreal. I saw it on Twitter, I thought it was fake and then refreshed it like a million times and I mean words can't even describe it, I'm so happy."
Many expressed their sentiments of hoping to win a championship or at least make it to the finals in this upcoming NBA season, with Lillard's skills paired with Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The season's opener will be at home on Thursday, Oct. 26 against the Philadelphia 76ers.