The Loop

Leader of Men

Mike Budenholzer’s laughably bad “pump-up” speech before Game 1 of the NBA Finals explains a lot

July 08, 2021

Alright, let’s get this out of the way right from the jump: Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer is a good coach. This hypothesis has been tested countless times over the course of his career and the result has always come back the same. He’s a Gregg Popovich disciple. He won coach of the year in 2015. He led franchises like Atlanta and Milwaukee back to relevance with considerably less payroll and cache than many of their Easter Conference rivals and now he’s in his first NBA Finals. Like we said, a good coach.

Butttttt (because there’s always a but) he’s not exactly a ra-ra guy. He’s levelheaded. He’s Xs and he’s Os. In other words, when it comes time to get up for the NBA Freakin' Finals, he’s not the guy you want on the mic. Exhibit A: This video of his pregame pump-up speech ahead of Game 1 against the Suns on Tuesday. WARNING: Do not watch this video before operating a motor vehicle.

Listen, we’re no experts. Mike Budenholzer has forgotten more about basketball than we will ever know and knows his team better than we could ever pretend to. But we know a paint-peeling tearjerker when we hear one, and “have some fun, play some basketball” ain’t it. We’re not saying this is as bad as ol’ Bill Peterson leading his 1-18 Houston Oilers squad into battle, but it’s not a million miles away either.

Needless to say, Coach Bud-dah better scrap the zen before Game 2. If not, it could be a long (and by long, we mean short) series for the Bucks.