Welcome to the 1st Annual (I think it's the first, but I'm not sure if it'll happen next year) NBA Blogger Arena Memoir Day. Actually, I made up that name, but Jones on the NBA made up the day. Today is the day where basketball bloggers 'round the 'net are sharing their thoughts and experiences about NBA arenas. Why? Because it's early September for NBA fans.
I'd highly recommend visiting other participants today, there are some very good writers involved. But, more importantly, I'd like to here what ya'all have to say. Surely someone has a good memory from seeing a Wolves game at the Metrodome. What about a Lakers game at the Armory?
Here at Hoopus, we strangely came up with all Milwaukee commentary. I smell a conspiracy. A cheesy conspiracy.
UPDATE: Check out T-Wolves Blog's entry in the event.
People will think I'm crazy, but I loved the old Mecca in Milwaukee. Back in 1987, before the Wolves were established, I went to see games there occasionally. At that time I was a strict vegetarian, but decided to forgo all thought of purity and have my very first Wisconsin bratwurst. I had the pleasure of seeing the Bad Boy Pistons close to their hey day against Nellie's team. The Bucks had begun their slide into mediocrity, but had players like Terry Cummings, Sidney Moncrief, and in his first year in a Milwaukee uniform, Jack Sikma.
The Mecca to me was a real sports stadium: dank and outmoded, but full of character. And, to my surprise, the bratwurst was delicious!
The Bradley Center is where I first saw NBA basketball being played. And the Milwaukee Bucks were the first NBA team I ever rooted for. My dad used to take my brother and me down I-43 to watch Glenn Robinson, Vin Baker, Eric Murdock, Jon Barry, Ken Norman, Derek Strong, Marty Conlon, Todd Day, Lee Mayberry, Alvin Robertson and my personal favorite, Blue Edwards.
The Mike Dunleavy era is not known for its "winning" in Milwaukee, but my dad taught me a lesson with this awful basketball team. The love I learned for professional sports in the Bradley Center (and Lambeau Field and County Stadium) came not from rooting for the winners, but for loving to watch the game being played with your friends and family, and rooting for your team.
And nothing said "teaching life lessons to your kid" like going to Major Goolsby's before a Bucks game. After all, that was the first place I saw a rubber penis affixed to a squirtgun. So, that was pretty interesting.
But for all the strife I endured growing up as a Bucks fan, I gained an appreciation for the guys who played their asses off every night, up 30 or down 30, because they knew they had no guarantees they'd ever play again. It was in the Bradley Center that I learned rooting for a team I felt was my own and gaining the camraderie built with strangers are the reasons why I root at all.