Bucks respond after ESPN host calls Milwaukee a 'terrible city'
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- ESPN might have called Milwaukee a "terrible city", but the Milwaukee Bucks sure know how to respond to an insult and stand up for its home.
Former NFL offensive guard Damien Woody asked commentator Stephen A. Smith's on what is his view is going to NBA Finals cities, asking "do you really want to go to Milwaukee? Is that where you want to be?"
Smith responded with "hell, no."
Later in the conversation, Host Holly Qurim Rose said, "It's going to be terrible cities. I mean, good karma for me on that end."
Smith also said, "I don't believe either of them are going to win their respective series. But I don't believe I've ever rooted for Atlanta, the Atlanta Hawks or the Los Angeles Clippers more in my life."
When Smith mentioned Atlanta and Los Angeles, he said those cities were "worth the flight."
Just saw this on First Take and I'm not surprised whatsoever. Milwaukee has not covered on ESPN for decades. We don't want yall in Milwaukee when we host the NBA Finals!! @SnellSZN@nathanmarzion@brewhoop— Logan Winser (@logan_winser) June 22, 2021
Milwaukee Bucks and Fiserv Forum President Peter Feigin released a statement calling out the First Take hosts, asking "When's the last time you were in Milwaukee?"
Feigin said he would love to give the hosts a personal tour, pointing out Milwaukee's dining scenes, neighborhoods, and the city's Lake Michigan lakefront.
"There's a reason people are moving to this welcome gem of a city in record numbers," Feigin said. "Oh, by the way, Milwaukeeans are very nice. Look forward to hearing from you."
Claire Koenig, communications director for VISIT Milwaukee, invited the hosts to see the bars, restaurants and other attractions Milwaukee has to offer. She said the comments were uncalled for.
"It's so disappointing to see, especially when the whole community is rallying around this Bucks team. And so to have some analysts take shots at the city that were definitely unfair and undeserved -- it wasn't great," she said.
Steve Baas, senior vice president of governmental affairs for the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, said Milwaukee has always "shown better than it tells."
"Once they experience this city, it changes their notions, it changes their perceptions of an old Midwestern town, and really changes it into something hip and energetic and fun," Baas said.
Milwaukee Alderman Khalif J. Rainey also responded to the insult.
"I have a message for the haters of the Milwaukee Bucks: Keep bringing the disrespect so the Bucks can keep turning it into jet fuel that they’ll use to propel the team to its first NBA Championship in 50 year," Rainey said. "We don't really care about what your opinion is of our city or of any of the other possible NBA Finals cities. Please just talk about the basketball, because that's what we are hyped about!"
Another ESPN host Myron Medcalf chimed in on Wednesday saying Milwaukee is flawed, but beautiful.
Milwaukee is flawed but beautiful. It's grilling and basketball at Lincoln Park. Long lines at Kopps. Summerfest. Choirs singing on Sunday Morning. It's somebody you just met inviting you over to get a plate. It's great food on the East Side. Yall don't know nothin' bout Miltown.— Myron Medcalf (@MedcalfByESPN) June 23, 2021
Bucks fan Jake Mahkorn created a petition to ban Smith and First Take from any potential NBA Finals games in Milwaukee. As of Wednesday evening, it had garnered more than 3,000 signatures.