‘Terrifying moments’: Party turns sour with gunshots reported as Milwaukee fans mark first NBA Finals win in 50 years (VIDEOS)
Wild celebrations ensued in Milwaukee as the Bucks won their first NBA championship in 50 years, but the scenes were marred by trouble as several gunshots were heard and police had to make arrests.
The Bucks made history by beating the Phoenix Suns 105-98 in Game 6 on their home court before 18,000 jubilant fans.
Emulating the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then known as Lew Alcindor), the 'Greek Freak' Giannis Antetokounmpo led Milwaukee to victory and was named the series MVP.
Scoring 50 points – his playoff career high – and complemented by 14 rebounds, Giannis put in one of the all-time great finals performances and had an inspirational message after he and his team had been crowned.
Giannis Antetokounmpo. NBA Champion. Finals MVP. pic.twitter.com/BFyhBMA0qG— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) July 21, 2021
"Don’t let nobody tell you what you can’t be or what you cannot do," he said.
"People told me I can’t make free throws. I made my free throws tonight. And I’m a freaking champion.
"This should make every person, every kid, anybody around the world believe in their dreams," added the jubilant European of Nigerian descent.
"I hope I give people around the world from Africa, from Europe, hope that it can be done. Eight and a half years ago, before I came into the league, I didn’t know where my next meal would come from. My mom was selling stuff in the street."
Fans erupted outside the Fiserv Forum and elsewhere in the city's Deer District where there were at least 65,000 people enjoying the action at a watch party.
"I been waiting 50 years for this," screamed one man, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.
"This is the most exhilarating thing you could do and I’d come back again," said 63-year-old Carol Demers of the experience. "It’s been wonderful."
Tom Cogdall, a retired Army officer the same age as Demers, was standing outside the Brothers Bar & Grill just steps from the arena and told Philstar: "I remember 1971. This was 50 years, we needed it."
Isaiah Tyler, a painter, said to the same paper: "This is history. I grew up here and have gone to a lot of lousy games – so this is the payoff.”
"Milwaukee is a very segregated city, so to see us all together, all races, for one cause, this is how the world should be," added the black 43-year-old.
Milwaukee Bucks fans celebrated the team's first NBA Championship in 50 years in the Deer District on Tuesday night – complete with fireworks. The Bucks beat the Phoenix Suns 105-98 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. https://t.co/802xvCoIy7pic.twitter.com/gmHDCU1sZj— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 21, 2021
As chants, fireworks and confetti filled the air, the party turned sour around 1 am as over a dozen shots were fired in the area and its intersection of Water Street and Juneau Avenue.
A Milwaukee cop told a reporter from the Journal Sentinel "we probably have some injuries", with some reports alleging two of them were suffered by fellow officers.
"Terrifying moments on Water Street as dozens of shots ring out where crowds of #Bucks fans were celebrating the win," tweeted Michele Fiore, sharing the footage.
And while there has been no official statement from the local law enforcement agency yet, three people were spotted handcuffed.
Local reporter Fiore later documented a "large police presence" there as more fireworks rang out in the meantime.