Milwaukee Mapped

Brandon Jennings

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The Distance
Something like 682 hours. If you don’t stop, that is how long it takes to walk from Compton, CA to Milwaukee, WI.  

Brandon Jennings took a little longer to get to Milwaukee, though not for lack of speed. He merely dribbled through a few detours: from hometown Compton all the way across the country to Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, VA for his junior and senior years of high school, then back west to Arizona, where he planned to play collegiately, citing a desire to play close to home. Jennings did not play close to home. He jetted to Italy to play professionally for Lottomatica Roma for a year after high school. That added more than 12,200 miles, round-trip, to his journey to Milwaukee. Still it only took him 19 years to get here. With NBA rules such as they are, that made his trip to Milwaukee as fast as possible.

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The Team
The current roster holds 14 players – and none of them are from the exactly same place.

Three sets of players do share the same birth state. The closest in birthplace proximity are Doron Lamb (Queens, NY) and Tobias Harris (Islip, NY), separated by roughly 40 miles. Meanwhile, Jennings (Compton, CA) and Drew Gooden (Oakland, CA) both call California home. John Henson (Tampa, FL) arrives via the west side of Florida while Larry Sanders (Fort Pierce, FL) comes from the east.

The players born furthest apart are Gooden and Ersan Ilyasova (Eskisehir, Turkey), separated by some 6,000 miles – and then brought together to play basketball in Milwaukee.

In all, the current Bucks cover seven states (California, Florida, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, New York, Texas) and four countries (Cameroon, Haiti, Slovenia, Turkey, United States).

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The Only
Not many people make it to the NBA. Even compared to sports like baseball, football, and soccer, there simply aren’t as many roster spots on a basketball team.

And so it should not be so surprising that six Bucks can claim to be the only NBA players ever from their birthplace: Tobias Harris (Islip, NY), Ersan Ilyasova (Eskisehir, Turkey), Luc Mbah a Moute (Yaounde, Cameroon), Joel Przybilla (Monticello, MN), Larry Sanders (Fort Pierce, FL), Ekpe Udoh (Edmond, OK), Beno Udrih (Celje, Slovenia).

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The Cities
While Ilyasova was born in a city furthest away from Milwaukee of anyone on the team, he also was born in a city with the most similar population to Milwaukee. Eskisehir, Turkey is home to 648,396 people, while Milwaukee’s population is 597,897, based on recent census numbers.

Doron Lamb hails from Queens, which is part of New York City, the hottest hotbed of NBA players. That makes Lamb the obvious pick as the player hailing from the largest city. The rookie takes that distinction from Luc Mbah a Moute, who was born in Yaounde, the capital city of Cameroon, home to more than 1,800,000 people.

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The Town
Not everyone is from a big city, though. For example, Beno Udrih was born in Celje, Slovenia, a town of less than 40,000 people today.   

That does not even mark the least populous birthplace of a current Buck, however. Joel Przybilla, who was drafted by the Bucks in 2000 and recently signed with the team, was born in Monticello, MN., population 12,759 at last count. And while not everyone grows up exactly where they were born, Przybilla indeed played high school basketball for the Monticello Magic. The official web site of the city government of Monticello notes that “each year, more than 2,000 Trumpeter Swans make Monticello their home during the months between November and March.” 

So the largest player on the team – Przybilla stands 7’1” and 245 pounds – grew from the smallest city. And the smallest player on the team – Jennings checks in at 6’1” and 169 pounds – has the biggest chance to lead the team to an extra city or two after the regular season, if he doesn’t stop.