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P.J. Tucker has a special bond with Bucks fans: “I’ll love the people of Milwaukee forever.”

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JULY 22: P.J. Tucker celebrates with the Larry O'Brien trophy during the Milwaukee Bucks 2021 NBA Championship Victory Parade and Rally in the Deer District of Fiserv Forum on July 22, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Though he’d only spend a few months on the team, the fans in Milwaukee will always remember P.J. Tucker as one of the Bucks. Ahead of his return to the Fiserv Forum, Tucker spoke with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He discussed how he’s looking forward to the return and opened on his surprise to still have a strong bond with the city despite his departure.

“[W]hat surprised me the most is how many fans are reaching out on e-mail, DM, everything, comments, talking about coming to the game […] Guys go play for teams and win and people don�t care. People could care less. And I know that for a fact. For the love I still get, even though I�m on an opposite team who their guys will battle this year and to still get that love, that�s what I�m saying about my experience in Milwaukee that nobody will ever understand: As short as it was, it couldn�t have been any bigger […] I�ll love the people of Milwaukee forever.”

PJ. Tucker

His rapport with the city is part of what shocked many, including Tucker himself, when he didn’t re-sign. Tucker will make his return to Milwaukee on Saturday night where his Miami Heat will look to make a statement. He will finally receive his championship ring, as well as an appreciative ovation from the local fans. Given both teams’ championship aspirations, it should make for an intriguing matchup.

Bucks/Heat: a blooming rivalry

Each having represented the East in the NBA finals in 2020 and ’21 respectively, the Heat and Bucks have often gotten in each other’s way. Miami made an example out of the Bucks in the 2020 bubble. The next year, Milwaukee rebounded with a first-round sweep of the Heat. Both teams have ramped up this offseason to take aim at the Larry O’Brien trophy in 2022. That said, there’s reason to believe that another date in the postseason could be in the cards.

Despite contrary belief, Milwaukee probably should credit the Heat for what they’ve grown into. This not only has to do with their on-court prowess, but also their identity. The prideful chant of “Bucks in Six” taken up by the fanbase began with a wishful proclamation by former player Brandon Jennings. He declared an eventual six-game series win over, ironically, the Miami Heat ahead of the first-round matchup between them and Bucks in 2013. Somehow, that has carried itself over nearly a decade and been sewn into the fabric of the Bucks fanbase today.

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