A story.
If the Bucks win tonight, or in Gm 7, there will be a legion of folks like Hondo, @PeterBotte, @mccarthy_chas, @TheFrankIsola, @jaygeemsg, @BobKlap, @HaleMark, @AndrewMarchand
and many more who’ll be thinking of how much this would have meant to one guy: The Buck fan.
2/...Anyone who did grunt work in the sports section of a NYC newspaper in the 1990s, and maybe before, answered the phones and took zillions of calls from the Buck Fan, a super dedicated — ok, obsessed — supporter of the Milwaukee Bucks. His name was Steve Lehman, and even if...
3/...he could be a little annoying at times, especially on deadline when we had to pump out boxscores and standings, he was a terrific fellow; polite, gracious, eminently forgiving and incredibly persistent.
You might get 3 or 4 calls a night from Steve and all he wanted...
4/...was to talk about his beloved Bucks. This was at the earliest stages of 24-hour sports radio and a lot of people used to call the sports departments of the newspapers to chat about sports. I think the famous Vinny From Queens used to call us, and definitely Jerome....
5/...Steve became a favorite. Initially, his calling card was to ask questions regarding the Bucks, who in his mind always lacked a proficient big man. “Uhhh, what about the Bucks?”
“What about them, Steve?” we would answer, and more often than not, his reply would be....
6/...”They need a big man.” For a while he was focused on Bryant “Big Country” Reeves, whom he called, Country Reeves, but whatever Mil. did, he was never satisfied.
Steve became a Bucks fan back in 1971 when they won it all with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and he never wavered...
7/..Over time we would talk to Steve about other topics — when it wasn’t close to deadline — and got to know a lot about him. He was married to a wonderful woman named Arlene. He loved Chicken and Sealtest ice cream. And he’d be happy to talk to anyone who’d listen.Some nights...
8/... you’d chat to him for a few minutes and then get busy and you’d pass him on to Hondo, Rico, Peter Tocco or Dominic Morano, and they would chat to him for a bit.
Once, I had him pick football games as the Fan Of The Week, and I think that 150-word story...
9/... became the talk of the agate community - at other papers, too.
One July 4th we invited him to the old NY Post building on South St. to watch the fireworks from the roof and we were honored that both he and Arlene joined us. I think they had a great time, and of course...
10/... he wanted to know the Bucks offseason plans and whether they would get a big man.
I’m sad to say I lost touch with Steve and Arlene after I stopped doing agate and answering phones. I heard he passed away several years ago. I did some research the last few days...
11/... and tried to find out more about him, but was unable to turn anything up. Steve and Arlene were very modest people, so maybe it’s not surprising. But I know this:
12/...Steve would be overjoyed right now, not just because the Bucks are on the verge of their first championship since his beloved 1971 team, but they are doing it, even in an era of wing players, with arguably the best big man in the world: Giannis Antetokounmpo!! Imagine that!
13/...So, I’m rooting for the Bucks tonight because I know somewhere, Steve would be so happy. But I really, really wish I could answer the phones just one more time...
14/... with Steve calling in the instant after the Bucks win it all, confetti still flying and Giannis being interviewed on court. I KNOW, Steve would claim to be happy, but he’d also ask, “Uh, what are the Bucks gonna do now?”

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