MILWAUKEE – Khris Middleton is very happy the Bucks got a 113-110 win over the Blazers, because the win on the court is easing the pain of a spades game that isn’t going nearly as well.
Aside from the basketball court, this is where the quiet kid from Charleston finds himself the most comfortable. In the basement of his new home just west of Milwaukee, his best friend from back home, Travis, has paired up with his Aunt Faye to lay a ruthless beating on us, while his girlfriend Sam and Aunt Vanessa look on.
Travis is a relentless talker, but it’s the moments when Faye chimes in that sting the most. At the end, she shakes her head in disgust noting that it’s “not even fun beating y’all like this” as she slaps the Guaranteed Joker down to take the final book of the night and run us off the table for good. Travis offers the chance for revenge on the pool table, but Khris has had enough. A morning workout awaits.
The humbling of the Bucks’ 26-year-old wing may have ended at the spades table, but it started earlier in the night at dinner, where the entire family got together after the game.
Middleton shakes his head as his mother, Nichelle, takes advantage of the gathering to regale everyone with stories of a young Khris and his sister, Brittney, who’s in town with her husband Ike and daughter Zara. There was the time they got kicked out of the house by their dad, James, for an afternoon for arguing and weren’t allowed to speak to each other for a week. Or when they used to go to Faye’s house and create a slip-n-slide on the linoleum kitchen floor with water and dish soap with their cousin.
It’s here where the usually stoic Middleton opens up, laughing about old stories, setting the record straight about who got injured doing what, and returning fire when his sister brings jokes his way. Travis laughs about watching Khris stand on the fringe of Bucks’ huddle when everyone else is jumping around, getting hyped up, and how that’s the way he’s been since they were kids playing together on the AAU circuit.