Bucks acrobats going to All-Star weekend
Six months ago, few people knew of the energetic acrobats now called the Bucks Trickers.
The group, an off-shoot of the Elite Tumbling Factory in Brookfield, showed up for "Milwaukee's Got Talent" community auditions that the Milwaukee Bucks staged last summer.
They were chosen, and have performed several times before thousands of fans during Bucks games at Fiserv Forum. And now, the Trickers are going to the NBA All-Star Weekend in Charlotte, and potentially an international audience.
"It's amazing. This is the first time that our members have done anything like this," said Tony Phomduangsy, the coach and a performer with the 12-member team.
The Trickers were chosen by the NBA at the recommendation of Johnny Watson, the Bucks' director of live programming and entertainment.
They will perform several times at events such as the All-Star Celebrity Game and Slam Dunk Competition held in connection with the All-Star game, which is Feb. 17 in Charlotte.
It's not yet determined what role the Trickers will have in the All-Star game.
The term "trickers" refers to a style of tumbling based in martial arts, Phomduangsy said.
The Trickers joined long-established performers including the Bucks Dancers, Hoop Troop, Rim Rockers and a drum line that perform during breaks in the action at Bucks home games.
Elite Tumbling has about 250 members and offers classes in tumbling, martial arts and acrobatics, Phomduangsy said.
On and off the court, the Bucks have a notable presence at this year's All-Star Weekend.
Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo was named the Eastern Division team captain, and Khris Middleton was selected as a reserve.
Also, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer will serve as coach of the Eastern Division team.
Also on the entertainment side, Watson is making his third consecutive trip to the festivities and will direct the Feb. 15 celebrity game.
Melanie Ricks, the Bucks' entertainment teams specialist and in-game host, will emcee several events.
Arvind Gopalratnam, vice president of corporate social responsibility, will lead some community events in Charlotte.
"I’ll be helping lead a community conversation between local youth and Charlotte law enforcement, helping with a special Olympics basketball clinic and a couple community revitalization projects," Gopalratnam said.
"This is great recognition by the NBA and demonstrates to people in Milwaukee and Bucks fans all over that we have stars on and off the court," said Barry Baum, chief communications officer.
The Bucks Trickers, who entertain at Milwaukee Bucks home games at Fiserv Forum, will participate in NBA All-Star Weekend activities.