MILWAUKEE – A former Milwaukee Bucks equipment manager takes a trip down memory lane as the NBA Finals play on national television.
If you are a Milwaukee basketball fan, you might be familiar with the names: Kareem, Oscar, Dandridge, McGlocklin and many more. But they weren’t alone.
âI was in every group, in the locker room, on the bench and saw a great team win the championship in 1971,â said Patrick McBride, former Milwaukee Bucks equipment manager.
Among the staff of the team, there were also people like McBride. He would be successful as a cardiologist and professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin.
Before all of this, he was a teenager working as the team’s equipment manager.
“Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and I came together. When the Bucks won the draw to have Lou Alcindor in the draft, I called the Bucks and found out they were interviewing ball collectors the next day.” , McBride said.
McBride would get the job and everything that went with it.
“We had to set up the courts. Set up the changing rooms, prepare the Gatorade and the water,” he explained. “Turning, we would bounce for them, we would pass for them.”
McBride said relentless tenacity is what got the Bucks over the hump in 1971 and back to the Finals in 1974. He sees a lot of that fight on the team today.
âIf you watched Giannis last night, you saw that hunger. When he was in these bands pushing everyone around, that was what Oscar looked like,â McBride said.
Fifty years later, McBride said he still remembers those electric crowds that fueled the team forward.
âThat energy in the Fiserv Forum is like in the Milwaukee Arena. If they turn it on, the players will be playing on a different level,â McBride said.
McBride said he plans to publish a book featuring more of his stories as a ball boy, titled “The Luckiest Boy Ever.” He said it will be released in August.
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