Own The Future
Does the headline sound a little odd now? The other day, after the win over the Hawks, a friend of mine asked how long the Bucks would be rolling with the #OwnTheFuture slogan. (I didn’t and don’t know.)
Seems to me this is a good problem for the marketing folks. He wasn’t asking like, jeez, how long are the Bucks going to string us along like suckers for a future that will never arrive? It was more like, does this really make sense when the Bucks are doing the damn thing here and now?
While the Bucks remain far off from contending for a title (they are closer to the eight seed than the one spot, no matter that win over the East-leading Celtics), they are even further away from being stuck in the game of selling a process (/Process) that sort of, might, just trust us, will totally be great eventually.
Seven years ago to the day (March 31, 2010), I wrote this to start the game recap after the Bucks won a heck of a ballgame in Milwaukee the night before.
So it's late-March, and it's Clippers/Bucks. It's quarter-past-eight, and it's not a close game. It's the Bradley Center, and the roof is about to blow off.
And it's not even April's Fools Day.
This was a feel-good blowout. When Charlie Bell spurs a 10-0 first quarter run, when all 14,321 chant "An-drew Bo-gut" at once, when Brandon Jennings goes all Rajon Rondo with a fake around-the-back layup after sticking up for his teammate and getting a technical, when Dan Gadzuric throws in a turnaround bank-shot? Feels good.
You could argue about when the exact moment it was that Fear The Deer crested, but really, that night, the way you felt falling asleep that night, was it.
That win pushed the Bucks, the hottest team in the league, to 17-5 following the All-Star Game. Bogut anchored the most stifling defense in the league. Showy-version, rookie-version, cornerstone-version (I know) Jennings was in full effect. John Salmons was the perfect addition, Jerry Stackhouse was warming up his vocal cords for the national anthem, and the Bucks were the First Round matchup to avoid – nay, fear.
Then the Bucks dropped their next two games, and in the third game, Bogut shattered his elbow. While the Bucks remained warm and ended up pushing the Hawks to seven games in the First Round, the Bogut injury ushered in a resignation that even if things broke right, the team would not be a real threat past the First Round anyway. Turned out that things broke only (and literally and figuratively) wrong.
The win over the Celtics on Wednesday pushed the Bucks, the hottest team in the league, to 14-6 following the All-Star Game this season. The difference is that this run follows an injury to a key player (Jabari), rather than being preceded by one (Bogut).
Playoffs are not clinched, and the Bucks will be a long shot to get out of even the First Round this season regardless. This time, though, March 31 does not feel anything like the height of an era in the way that it ended up being just that for Fear The Deer. This time, the Bucks have more than a slogan. They have something for the future, but they also have it now. They have a superstar.