MKE Influencers: Drake Deno, the man behind @SnellSZN Bucks account
MIDDLETON, Wis. (CBS 58) – From the moment you meet Drake Deno, it’s easy to tell he’s an avid Milwaukee Bucks fan.
Sports have always been a big part of his life, and his passion only grew shortly after he moved to Wisconsin and watched the Bucks draft Giannis Antetokounmpo in 2013.
“It was a great time to really get into the sport,” Deno said. “Turning from a kind of casual fan into more of a watch every game kind of fan.”
While attending the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Deno often saw Bucks games from his dorm room. One day while scrolling on twitter, now known as “X”, he has an idea to join in on the fun.
“People always had these accounts that focused on Lebron or Giannis or the stars of the NBA which I think is awesome but I thought it would be funny to highlight a player that maybe didn't get the same amount of love,” Deno said. “I looked at the Bucks roster and I looked at who I was a fan of and Tony Snell stood out because he was always seen as this quiet guy who kept to himself.”
That’s when Snell, who played three seasons with the Bucks, became the focus of Deno’s social media account - now called @SnellSZN.
Deno’s viral moment came when posted a Valentine's Day meme of Snell that read, “Roses are red, I shoot just like Snell, I gave you this card because for you I just fell.”
One retweet turned into thousands and his post even caught the attention of Snell’s agent.
“His business manager saw it and he DM’d me and said, I showed this to Tony and his wife Ashley and they thought it was hilarious,” Deno said. “He said, would you ever want to meet at some point and yeah, of course I’d want to meet Tony Snell.”
In 2021, they met in Milwaukee during a playoff series when Snell played for the Atlanta Hawks. It was about a month before the Bucks went on to win their first NBA title in 50 years.
Deno said it was an unbelievable experience, one that not only boosted his social media following but also launched him into other career opportunities.
“I didn't expect anything like this. I was just some 19 year-old at the time, some college kid that wanted to tweet about basketball and now it's turned into being an ambassador for the team and for the Brewers.”
His now nearly 39,000 followers on “X” helped him land two jobs as a Bucks and Brewers social ambassador. It’s allowed him to use his social media presence to show off the game day experience to sports fans around the world.
“Now I have this experience of going to a game and being able to go down to the court and see what that's like…I still haven’t fully wrapped my head around things but it's been really neat and I'm very thankful to the Bucks and the Brewers.”
When he’s not live-tweeting games, Deno spends most of his day at the Verona Senior Center working as a case manager. While it’s not a sports-related job, it’s one that allows him to take breaks from social media as technology and the desire for content continue to transform the digital world.
“I think the one downside is it can kind of get addicting watching games and tweeting about it and I kind of have to remind myself if I miss a game it's not the end of the world.”
As for what’s next for Deno, he says stay tuned. For now he’s enjoying the highs and lows of being a Bucks superfan.
“I've gone through a lot of pain as a sports fan but… It was never a goal of mind for this to happen. It just kind of happened naturally which still kind of blows my mind a little bit.”