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Mark Pope, BYU Basketball Players Show Their NBA Finals Allegiances

23 Jan 2001: Mark Pope #44 of the Milwaukee Bucks looks to pass the ball during the game against the New York Knicks at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Bucks defeated the Knicks 105-91. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – The BYU basketball program can’t get enough of the 2021 NBA Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns.

From former players to diehard fans, BYU hoops are immersed in this year’s historic summertime Finals.

Twenty years ago, Mark Pope was an important piece with a Milwaukee Bucks that advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. Pope played two seasons with the Bucks, and on Tuesday leading up to Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Finals, Pope took a picture in his old 2002 Bucks jersey.

Pope wrote on the tweet, “All I’m sayin’…the Bucks fans wore THEIR gear to practice today!  Game 6!!”

The third-year head man of the Cougars was in a picture with senior guards Alex Barcello and Te’Jon Lucas. Lucas, along with Pope, was rocking Milwaukee Bucks gear.

A native of Milwaukee, the grad transfer from the University of Milwaukee, Lucas has been showing his support for his Bucks throughout this NBA Playoffs run.

Barcello, on the other hand, was not in Bucks gear. He grew up in the Arizona Valley in Chandler. So naturally, the Honorable Mention All-American guard is a Suns fan.

He wrote to Pope on Twitter, “The Suns fans know what’s going to happen! Suns in 7!!”

Pope and Lucas aren’t the only ones showing their support for the Bucks. BYU basketball assistant coach Cody Fueger grew up in Wisconsin, so he’s all in on the Bucks.

Fueger replied to Barcello with a Giannis Antekounmpo gif with the rallying cry of Fear the Deer fans in this Finals series, “Bucks in Six.”

Many BYU fans are likely cheering for the Bucks considering Milwaukee has a former BYU player on the roster in Elijah Bryant.

Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Finals between the Bucks and Suns tips off at 6 p.m. tonight. The Bucks lead the series 3-2 after trailing 0-2. A win would give Milwaukee their second NBA Championship as a franchise. It would be the first since 1971 when the Bucks superstars Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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