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In 2016 the Bucks’ president, Peter Feigin — a native New Yorker — made national news when he bluntly described Milwaukee as “the most segregated, racist place” he had ever seen. “It just is a place that is antiquated,” he reportedly told a Rotary Club gathering. “It is in desperate need of repair.” He added, “One of our messages and one of our goals is to lead by example.”

Tensions came to a head in January 2018, when a Bucks player, Sterling Brown, who is Black, was shocked with a stun gun and arrested by Milwaukee police. He filed a police misconduct lawsuit against the city, which was recently settled.

And in 2019, the Bucks’ shooting guard Malcolm Brogdon doubled down on Feigin’s criticism. “I’ve never lived in a city this segregated,” said Brogdon, who is Black, in an interview with The Guardian. “Milwaukee’s very behind in terms of being progressive. There are things that need to change rapidly.” (Shortly thereafter, he left Milwaukee to play point guard for the Indiana Pacers.)

If the Bucks have forced Milwaukeeans to take an uncomfortable look at the magnitude of their city’s racism, the team has also served as a model for unified resistance.

Last summer, Antetokounmpo was among several Bucks players to march against anti-Black brutality after the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. The point guard Jrue Holiday redirected $5.5 million of his salary to social justice causes, Black-owned businesses and historically Black educational institutions.

And in August, after a police officer in neighboring Kenosha shot a Black man, Jacob Blake, seven times in front of three of his children, the Bucks refused to come out of their locker room at their next playoff game and released a joint statement calling for accountability and criminal justice reform. The move kicked off a wave of similar actions across professional sports teams.

On Tuesday, as the Bucks’ parable of grit and determination unspooled, this divided city celebrated as one. In a place as fractured as Milwaukee, that counts for something.

The post What the Milwaukee Bucks' Win Did for Their City appeared first on The News Amed.