This week the Bucks traded Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson to the Warriors for three players, including the team’s best player, Monta Ellis.
The trade has me more conflicted than Peter Griffin the time he forgot how to sit down.
Kicking Jackson to the curb was a no-brainer. He was arguably the Bucks’ best player this year, but thought he was one of the NBA’s best players. In this J.K. Rowling-level fantasy world Jackson created, his being one of the NBA’s best players also meant he needn’t abide by Scott Skiles’ team rules. Jackson’s shenanigans briefly pinned Brandon Jennings and Skiles against each other and threatened the team’s solidarity, the biggest single reason they are still in the East playoff race despite not having a superstar. Good riddance, Stephen Jackson.
But a large part of me is sad to see Bogut ridded. He did spend much of his time in Milwaukee injured, but he was injured so much because he was playing so hard – hurling himself through the air to stop layups, racing opposing bigs to the other end of the court, never dunking like he was wearing a purse – in general hustling like a maniac all over the court. He never possessed Pau Gasol-like touch on his shots in the paint – few guys who go all out all game can – but still managed to get baskets for himself and others by consistently making the right plays at the right times.
He also bought 100 season seats in one section at the Bradley Center and gave them to a group of wild youths, and christened them Squad 6, after his jersey number. Last year, I sat across the aisle from this section when the Bucks played the Bulls. Whenever the Bucks host the Bulls, more Chicagoans than Milwaukeans attend. They spend the entire game talking smugly about how much better their team is than ours and how they have Derek Rose and how their city has a bigger population than ours and by the end you wish Milwaukee would get light rail so you could go lay on the tracks. That night, I was thanking God for the wild youths in Squad 6, because they were just hitting those smug Chicagoans with a fireball storm of verbal abuse. What follows are some of the aforementioned verbal abuse fireballs that made my night.
- The game was 30 minutes from starting, and a Chicago fan wearing a Michael Jordan jersey walked down the aisle. He was just tool enough to wear it without an undershirt. A Squad 6 wild youth who looked like Jonah Hill noticed this fan. He said “Hey, Jordan, you’re living in the past,” and other such snide remarks.
- Derek Rose had been having an average game – you know, accounting for only about 95 percent of the Bulls offense, sending the Bradley Center buzzing two or three times with crossover-spin move-triple pump layup drives to the basket, causing Brandon Jennings to question his manhood, etc. With all this in mind as he went to the free throw line, I was disheartened. Then, I heard it. “KAAAANsas…KAAAANsas…KAAAANsas…” Of course, I thought. Rose’s college team, Memphis, played Kansas in the NCAA Championship two years ago. Memphis was up by something like ten points with a minute left. Rose only had to make a few free throws to put it on ice – but he blew it! Ha! You and your long-term memories, wild youths of Squad 6.
- Joakim Noah went to the free throw line a few times. The first time they sang Aerosmith’s “Dude Looks Like a Lady” and the second time they chanted, “Brittney Griner!” In a 2010 interview, Bogut actually said he remembered laughing when he heard Squad 6 sing “Lady.” It’s funny because Noah looks like a lady.
I’ve heard good things about Monta Ellis. One of my friends, for instance, called him “A Boss.” Like any Bucks fan, I hope Monta is consistently a boss. But he’ll never be the working class player Bogut was. No player will be. Not until he buys season tickets for 100 wild youths with special talents for antagonizing Chicago Bulls fans.