About halfway through the Milwaukee Bucks’ 105-98 Game 6 win over the Phoenix Suns, I remarked that I’d be happy to see either team win the championship. I liked players on both teams, each fan base was equal measures of likable and annoying, and both cities were deserving of a little sports glory. A Bucks win? Sure!
So believe me when I say I was little surprised to find myself freaking teary-eyed and sniffly at multiple moments during the postgame celebrations and rituals. Usually the post-championship pomp and circumstance results in maybe one weepy or weepy-adjacent moment. Last night’s was full of them! It’s possible there’s a level of emotional inflation going on here, especially given that last summer’s NBA championship happened in an empty, sterile bubble where everything felt weird and muted, whereas last night’s game and celebration was raucous and alive. It’s also possible that series MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is just one of the most open and charismatic guys to ever play the game, and all his unfiltered emoting is contagious. It could be that NBA players and coaches and fans alike are just a little more raw and tender after weathering an ongoing pandemic. It’s also very possible I’m just a big soft baby these days! You can watch these moments from the Weepiest Finals Ever and decide for yourself, and maybe have a nice little Wednesday morning sniffle.
First, here’s Giannis falling to the floor and crying shortly after the game ended.
Here he is hugging his girlfriend and hoisting their baby.
Then there was Bucks big man Bobby Portis talking about being depressed and finding peace after spending time at home with his mom.
In the locker room, Giannis was on Instagram Live with his brother and fellow Bucks player, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, who was quarantined in a hotel in accordance with the league’s COVID-19 protocols, therefore missing the game and the celebrations. Look at these two!
Then there was Suns coach Monty Williams choking back tears in his postgame presser.
And Williams going into the Bucks’ locker room to congratulate the team.
And finally here is Giannis again, an hour or so after the game, putting it all in perspective.
Are you kidding me with all these incredibly sweet and unaffected displays of emotional wherewithal?! This is why sports are so fun: You come to them because you like to watch people dunk basketballs and hit homers and throw footballs, and then one day you find yourself, awake at 2:00 a.m., tearily watching one of the best players in the world say something as revealing and self-aware as, “I can be stubborn sometimes. I can disconnect myself from the world because I wanted this so bad. I wanted this so bad. And I was able to get it. That’s why I was tearing up, but people helped me to be in this position. I didn’t do it by myself. Every freakin’ day people help me. And I want to thank my dad, my mom, my significant other, and my brothers and my son.”
Time to weep a little more!