Bucks' new star power excites fans locally and outside of Wisconsin

NOW: Bucks’ new star power excites fans locally and outside of Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Afternoon drizzle might have kept some fans from gathering early at the Deer District ahead of the Bucks' 2023-24 season opener, but throughout the day Thursday, Oct. 26, fans trickled into the Bucks Pro Shop at Fiserv Forum to grab new gear for the new season.

Among those shoppers was Cameron Higgins, a high school junior from Kansas City, who said he'd become a big fan while in junior high, and now his family takes him to Milwaukee once a year to see a Bucks game.

"I started really liking basketball in 7th grade, and I just watched Giannis [Antetokounmpo] all the time," Higgins said. "And I'm like, 'he's really good.' Just seeing all the things he can do, it just made me fall in love with the game, and I like the Bucks because of that."

Higgins wasn't the only fan to traveled to cheer the deer at Thursday's opener. A young fan held a sign proclaiming he'd come from France to see the game. The boy indicated he did not speak English.

At the checkout counter, there were also plenty of longtime Milwaukeeans happy to profess their love for the team.

"I'm not attending the game tonight, but I'm just down here to support them," said Jesse Hill, who moved to Milwaukee from Memphis 14 years ago.

Hill was happy to flaunt the two new t-shirts he picked up, along with a baseball cap. Christopher Taylor was getting a new Damian Lillard jersey.

Taylor, who recently opened the 'ManCave' barber shop downtown, said he and his brother decided last year to buy courtside season tickets. When Lillard arrived via a trade, Taylor said he wanted to add his to jersey to the barber shop's wall display.

"Given the fact that we were put out of the playoffs pretty early last year, and now seeing that we got some new additions to the team, the juice around the city is crazy," Taylor said. "It's exciting."

Fans said they shared the front office's optimism that Lillard's ability to drain shots from deep would open up space for Antetokounmpo to score at the rim.

"We about to get another ring," LaToya Gooden said as she waiting in line to enter the arena. "Bucks in six, every day, all day."

Once the game started, plenty of fans without tickets took a seat at Mecca, the team-owned sports bar in the Deer District.

One of them was Ken Janca, a Menomonee Falls man who said he'd been passionately rooting for the team since 1973, and was proud that he could now wear Bucks merchandise elsewhere, and it wouldn't seem strange.

"Just to see people buying stuff and supporting the Bucks and supporting the community," Janca said. "I was in Boston, I was wearing my Bucks shirt."

As the Bucks' recent run of winning seasons has created fans outside of Wisconsin, some of those supporters who've come to visit have since become fans of Milwaukee.

"The city's beautiful, the food is amazing. It's a great city," Higgins said. "I love the old style of all the buildings. It's just so nice, I love it."

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