Professional athletes dream of winning a championship for the sense of accomplishment, the glory, and of course, the epic party and the parade. As soon as the buzzer sounded on the Milwaukee Bucks’ four games to two wins over the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Finals, the party was on.
The official Finals MVP Award went to Giannis Antetokounmpo who put up 50 in Game 6. When Bucks guard Pat Connaughton joined Dan Patrick, though, he named two other teammates as the co-MVPs of the team’s wild celebration.
The Milwaukee Bucks won the franchise’s first NBA title in 50 years
The 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks had a boatload of talent. The team featured All-Stars Bob Boozer and Jon McGlocklin, as well as Hall of Famers and all-time greats Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bobby Dandridge, and “The Big O” Oscar Robertson.
The team finished 66-16, winning the NBA Midwest Division. The squad blew through the Western Conference Playoffs, beating both the San Francisco Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers four games to one.
In the Finals, the Bucks faced a formidable Baltimore Bullets team lead by Hall of Famers Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Wes Unseld, and Gus Johnson. However, the blazing hot Bucks made quick work of their Eastern Conference foes, sweeping them in four games.
Milwaukee returned to the NBA Finals in 1974, losing to the Boston Celtics. Since then, the team has never made it out of its conference until Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday led the team to the 2021 crown.
Pat Connaughton says these two teammates we ‘co-MVPs’ of the Milwaukee Bucks championship celebration
“Who was the MVP of the celebration?” Patrick asked Connaughton on The Dan Patrick Show.
P.J. Tucker and Bobby Portis, I give co-MVP awards. They were phenomenal. They enjoyed it. I was super-happy for P.J. I mean, P.J.’s had an incredible career, and obviously, this was something that he was looking for, and he did a lot of things to help us get it, so he deserved to be the MVP of the celebration.Pat Connaughton on The Dan Patrick Show
Connaughton also shared that one (unnamed) teammate did show up to the after-party, “Still wearing the entire uniform, shoes tied, shooting sleeve on.
As good as Tucker sounds like he was at the party, he may have been even better at the parade. The former Texas Longhorn chugged champagne out of a giant gold-plated bottle and gave a DMX-like speech about teaching his teammates how to “be dogs!”
P.J. Tucker and Bobby Portis took the long way to the NBA Championship
Tucker and Portis came up the hard way in the NBA and beyond, just like many of their Milwaukee Bucks teammates. In fact, the only Buck drafted in the Lottery is Brook Lopez (No. 4 overall in 2008).
The Toronto Raptors took Tucker No. 35 overall in the 2006 draft. After one season and just 83 total minutes, the team sent him to the G League then waived him outright. Stints overseas in Israel, Ukraine, Greece, Italy, and Germany came next.
He finally made his way back to the NBA, catching on with the Phoenix Suns in 2012. The Suns traded him to his original NBA team for 24 games in 2017 before signing a free-agent deal with the Houston Rockets. Houston shipped Tucker to the Bucks in its post-James Harden fire sale, and the Larry O’Brien Trophy followed.
Portis went No. 22 overall to the Chicago Bulls in 2015 but spent a good deal of time in the G League himself early in his career. An infamous fight with his teammate in practice ultimately led to a trade to the Washington Wizards.
Signing with the New York Knicks for a year revived Portis’ career and, in the 2021 offseason, he made his way to the Milwaukee Bucks after a fateful text exchange with Antetokounmpo.
If anyone deserves to celebrate wildly after achieving the ultimate NBA experience, it’s these two co-MVPs.
All stats courtesy of Basketball Reference