By BRIAN MAHONEY
The Associated Press
MILWAUKEE — Jerry Colangelo is headed to Game 5 in Phoenix, hoping to see his old team win its first NBA title.
Getting the series over would sure help his current team, too.
Colangelo was the Suns’ first general manager when the organization entered the league as an expansion team in 1968. Over the next 43 years, he went on to hold titles of coach, president, managing general partner, chief executive officer and chairman.
“You give birth to a franchise like I did and was part of it for 40 years, I have a vested interest in their success and I’m hopeful that this is it for them, that they can win a championship,” Colangelo said. “It would mean something to me.”
Now managing director of the U.S. men’s national team, Colangelo is with the Americans in Las Vegas for training camp and exhibition games before the Olympics.
Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, along with the Suns’ Devin Booker, will join the Americans once the finals are over. Without them, the U.S. has dropped two of its first three exhibition games.
“We’re operating short-handed and if you have a guy down because of even a tweak, we don’t have a lot of depth,” Colangelo said. “So it’s been challenging here from that perspective.”
Colangelo has gone to some of the Suns’ playoff games, their first since 2010. He watched their strong run in the bubble last year and believed early on the addition of Chris Paul to a good young core could make this a strong season.
“You could just sense it and see it coming together and they’re fun to watch, they really are,” Colangelo said.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is surging toward the top — in jersey sales.
The Milwaukee Bucks start has equaled his highest position ever at No. 2, the NBA and National Basketball Players Association announced Wednesday. the list is based on sales at NBAStore.com sales from March 11 through July 13.
Antetokounmpo was No. 5 on the jersey list in the first half of the season.
Devin Booker also made a big climb, up from 18th to a career-best No. 6. LeBron James is No. 1, while Kevin Durant led three Nets in the top 10 at No. 3.
The Lakers are also No. 1 in team sales, followed by the Nets. The Suns vaulted from 19th in the first half of the season to No. 3, one spot ahead of the Bucks.
1971 champs visit
The Bucks are seeking their first NBA title in half a century, and four members from that 1971 championship team attended Wednesday night’s game.
That contingent included Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Oscar Robertson, Bob Dandridge and Jon McGlocklin, whose jerseys all hang from the Fiserv Forum rafters. Abdul-Jabbar and Robertson already are in the Hall of Fame, and Dandridge will join them when he gets inducted this fall.
No players have tested positive for the coronavirus during the NBA Finals.
All players are being tested daily during the series. The NBA and NBPA said Wednesday that none have returned confirmed positive tests since results were last announced on July 7, in between Games 1 and 2.
Making history again
Rapper Vo Williams was at Fiserv Forum for a second straight game to do a pregame performance of his song “History In The Making,” which has served as the theme for the Bucks‘ playoff drive.
This marks the second time this year one of Williams’ songs has been used in a professional team’s championship bid. The Tampa Bay Lightning made Williams’ “Ready Set” the theme song of their postseason as they won their second straight Stanley Cup title.
“Everybody is establishing memories here, and this music is kind of a landmark for the memory, the moment,” Williams said. “That’s what it does for the music. It makes it a piece of their life, a landmark in their lifetime.”