MILWAUKEE – Don’t ask Ari Rosengarten where he feels more at home, the Bradley Center or the Steve & Shari Sadek Family Camp Interlaken JCC.
It’s an impossible question.
Rosengarten, 23, of Glendale, has been a Milwaukee Bucks fan since childhood.
“Half my wardrobe is Bucks clothing that I’ve accumulated over the years,” he said. “I care about this organization as much as anything in the world.”
One day, about five years ago, while (of course) playing basketball at the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center with a friend who worked for the Bucks, Rosengarten joked, “Hey, man, you should get me a job working for the Bucks.”
It was a joke, but he got a serious answer. “He told me about this thing called Hoop Troop.”
Hoop Troop is a during-the-game entertainment crew, made up of intense fans who are responsible for crowd interaction, on-court promotions, concourse activities and prize giveaways. They’re also involved in various events in the community.
Rosengarten almost didn’t walk into the audition, when he saw people practicing cheer routines beforehand. He thought, maybe those energetic people are a better fit than himself, his brother Jesse and a friend, who all ended up auditioning together. All three were accepted.
“I did that for a couple years,” he said, until switching to his current role with the Bucks three seasons ago.
Rosengarten graduated in December of 2016 from University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. He now works full time in sales at ETE Reman of Milwaukee, while working part-time for the Bucks in game operations as a video administrator. His work includes developing statistics for games.
He researches before every game, to “try to make the production here as interesting as possible with the fans.”
He doesn’t work with box scores, but with more esoteric statistics that will be of greatest interest to fans steeped in basketball knowledge. He decides which items – like efficiency ratings, a player’s hook shot percentage, or the number of dunks this season from Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo – should go up on the big, four-sided “jumbotron” during game play. He calculates those stats for the screens.
“I am appreciative of every moment I get to come in this building. It really does feel like home,” he said, adding praise for his boss and his coworkers at the Bucks. “I am very lucky that I get to be included in this.”
The NBA told the Bucks in 2013 that the Bradley Center was no longer right for the league. Asked about the new stadium set to open later this year, Rosengarten said he’s most excited the team won’t have to move out of town.
This will be the first summer in many years that Rosengarten won’t be at Camp Interlaken in Eagle River. “Judaism for me is as much about what makes me up,” he said.
“I very much identify as being Jewish,” Rosengarten said. “There’s no place that I think I’m more myself than at Interlaken.”
Ask Rosengarten where he feels more at home, the Bradley Center or Interlaken, and he can’t give you an answer. “I think they’re different,” he said.
“I grew up at Interlaken. I don’t know the type of person I would be without it.”