The Struggle of Being a Milwaukee Bucks Fan and the Search for a Better Team
The Milwaukee Bucks have been a tough team to figure out this season.
Some days, they have the opportunity to beat the Lakers, and on others, they get smoked by the rest of competition.
Things have actually been this way since the 2000-01 season, when Milwaukee was one game away from the NBA Finals.
Each year, it seems like things get worse than the previous year, making it tough for fans like me to continue to cheer them on day in and day out.
Even though it would be easy to switch my NBA allegiances to another team, I won't, because I hate the bandwagon fans.
But as this season goes along, and each Bucks loss gets harder and harder to swallow, let's try to have a little fun.
If a fan of Milwaukee were to switch teams, what are some of the possibilities that lie ahead of them?
1. Follow the King of the Court: Cleveland Cavaliers
If you're looking to become a new follower in this league, why not just follow the leader in King (LeBron) James?
You can be a "witness" and watch him rule the court with the rest of kingdom. Plus, you can still catch a glimpse of Shaquille O'Neal (aka The Big Aristotle, The Diesel, Shaq Daddy).
James always brings his best game against the Bucks, as his scoring average against Milwaukee is the best for one player against a single team all-time.
Hey, as the saying goes, "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em." King James continues to show the NBA world why Cleveland rocks.
2. Can't Miss Dynasties: L.A. Lakers
Jumping ship and cheering for the Lakers is like switching to the New York Yankees in the MLB—you can't miss.
The Lakers are assured to go to the playoffs every year (like the Yanks), and will always be in the hunt to play in the Finals.
Kobe Bryant is a sure-fire leader (like Yankee counterpart Jeter), with a pretty good supporting cast.
Jumping on the Lakers wagon will also make you feel like you're part of the Hollywood glamor, catching a glimpse a Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, and other movie stars cheering for "your" team too.
And let's not forget the greatest thing about becoming a Lakers fan...the Laker Girls.
2a. Dynasties: Boston Celtics
The Celtics have quickly regained their "dynasty" status after spending many years in the basement.
Much like the Lakers, it's guaranteed that Boston will be in the playoffs for many years to come, so go ahead and cheer for true winners.
With a Lakers-Celtics combo, the 1970s and '80s are back in full storm, as the two greatest NBA franchises are sure to continue to draw many newcomers to their side.
Bucks fans can feel comfort in cheering for former Milwaukee star Ray Allen, as well as former Marquette University player Doc Rivers too. And let's not forget Kevin "The Big Ticket" Garnett.
3. Root for Familiar Faces: Denver Nuggets
If you prefer to cheer for certain players or coaches, you could try taking your fandom to the Rockies and the Denver Nuggets.
Denver coach George Karl was the last coach who brought success to the Bucks, as he was at the helm during Milwaukee's 2001 playoff run.
With Karl, you'd also get one of the best NBA players on your side in Carmelo Anthony, as well as a top-notch point guard in Chauncey Billups.
You can take pride in cheering for Chris "Birdman" Andersen (and his Mohawk) as he continues the turnaround in his career.
Let's not forget all the ski bunnies that could be hitting the slopes out there either.
3a. Familiar Faces: Miami Heat
Dwyane Wade may have not played for the Bucks, but Milwaukee fans know him well enough, as he led the Marquette Golden Eagles to an NCAA Final Four appearance.
I don't know how long Wade will remain in Miami, but the Heat should continue to be a step ahead of the Bucks for some time.
Also, the cold weather during the NBA season in Milwaukee can be a little bit of a drag, too.
Down in Miami, there are beaches for miles, the temperatures will never reach Milwaukee's numbers, and the Heat's arena even has yacht docking for home games.
"Flash" won't disappoint once he steps on that court either, making the Heat a viable option for any Bucks fan to run towards.
3b. Familiar Faces: Dallas Mavericks
Dirk Nowitzki and the Milwaukee Bucks has to be the biggest "what if" in the last 20 years of the league. In the early 1990s, Dallas and Milwaukee were two of the worst teams in the league.
In 1997, Milwaukee and Dallas agreed on a pre-draft trade, making the pick even that much more hurtful to Bucks fans, practically giving the Mavericks the German sensation.
What did Milwaukee get in return?
Robert "Tractor" Traylor and Pat Garrity. Good deal, huh?
Just imagine what the Bucks could have done with Dirk, especially during 2001. On the flip side, think of how different Dallas would be without him. They probably don't appear in the Finals against Miami.
A trade that turned the tide of two franchises in completely opposite directions.
4. The Up and Comers: Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder (Sonics) are doing something that the Bucks haven't been able to do: Officially rebuilld a franchise.
Oklahoma City has gone through many heartaches, but with the addition of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Thunder are quickly on the rise.
There is plenty of excitement in Oklahoma City now, especially since the Thunder are the only professional sports team in town.
The Bucks are competing with the Milwaukee Brewers in the MLB, and since the Brewers have gotten themselves out of the basement, the Bucks will lose that battle every time.
The Thunder compare to the Brewers, as they're getting out of the cellar, getting quality players, and now drawing fans to cheer them on.
4a. Up and Comers: Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks used to be the laughing stock of the NBA, but a couple of runs in the playoffs will change some things.
If you want to go for Atlanta, you'll have one of the NBA's underrated players on your side in Joe Johnson.
Atlanta has been known as a team who could give tickets away, but if they continue to win, those tickets might be hard to get.
So as a Bucks fan, don't feel bad if you switch over to the Atlanta Hawks, because they'll be glad to have you.
5. Stay Close to Home: Chicago Bulls
If you don't want to struggle over deciding whom to chose between the Lakers, Celtics, and Nuggets, just make a run for the border.
When Michael Jordan was in town, I know that he stole some fans from Milwaukee to Chicago. Derrick Rose has the ability to do the same.
Brandon Jennings is an exciting point guard for the Bucks, but Rose can be just as exciting.
You could still go to plenty of games too, as a weekend in Chicago isn't a bad vacation, or a long drive.
One downfall to cheering for the Bulls is that you might have to start liking Joakim Noah as well.
5a. Close to Home: Minnesota Timberwolves
If you don't want to go over the southern border of Wisconsin, then go west towards Minneapolis.
The Timberwolves may not be in much better shape than the Bucks, but perhaps a change a scenery is all you need then. It works for some players, so it may work for some fans too.
Minnesota also has two up and coming players in Kevin Love and Jonny Flynn.
Given the situations, Milwaukee fans can feel free to take that six-hour drive on I-94 and cheer for the Timberwolves without feeling guilty.
6. Reminder of How Good Milwaukee Has It: New Jersey Nets
If you're a Bucks fan who think things suck this year, try being (and admitting to being) a New Jersey Nets fan.
The Nets have won a total of three games this season, and who knows if things will ever get better.
New Jersey will have the best chance at the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, unless they choose to go on some sort of a winning streak.
There is also a friendly face in Jersey for Bucks fans in Devin Harris, who starred at Wauwatosa East High School and then at the University of Wisconsin.
Not even Harris and Co. have found the formula to win games, though.
Those are some of the options to go to for, Bucks fans. But if you're like me, who won't switch teams and continue to cheer on Milwaukee, then there's only one thing to remember:
At least we're not cheering for the Nets.