By DREW OLSON
The Chicago Bulls are idle this evening, which means there probably won’t be a sellout at the Bradley Center.
That’s too bad.
The Phoenix Suns are in town to face the Bucks, and that means Michael Redd is back.
Redd spent 11 seasons in Milwaukee and during many of them he was the best player and face of the franchise. The second-round draft pick from Ohio State averaged 20 or more points in six straight seasons, is the fifth-leading scorer in team history, represented the Bucks on the US Olympic team (2008) and was the franchise’s most recent all-star (2004).
Though he was a popular figure on and off the court, Redd suffered a series of knee injuries and fans came to view the six-year, $91 million contract as an albatross. when he played 33, 18 and 10 games in his final three seasons with the Bucks.
Redd, who signed with the Suns on Dec. 29, did not play when Milwaukee visited Phoenix Jan. 8. Saturday night, he started a game for the first time since Jan. 12, 2010 -- the night he blew out two ligaments in his left knee.
With Jared Dudley sidelined by a thigh bruise, Redd scored 17 points and helped his team take a victory over Charlotte.
“One of the proudest moments of my career,” Redd said afterward, when asked what the performance meant to him.
“To get the win was obviously the key. But to come back, through the tears, through the hurt, through the hours of rehab, training to come back and accomplish this, is maybe the most proud moment of my career, actually.”
Redd, who is 32, had plenty of proud moments with the Bucks. He averaged 20 points, made 38 percent of his three-pointers and carried himself with class. He returns to town as the Bucks are trying to figure out a way to handle mercurial Stephen Jackson, who has not played in three of the team’s last four games.
Being the best player on a mediocre to poor team is not easy duty. Redd was blamed for not lifting the franchise out of quicksand. I criticized him in 2010 for declining to support his teammates by attending playoff games against Atlanta. Compared to Jackson’s recent travails, however, that transgression seems minor in hindsight.
I don’t know how Redd will be received at the game tonight and I’m not about to tell paying customers how to comport themselves. I would say, though, that I think Redd deserves a warm ovation in recognition of his service to the franchise and the community.
Is Redd’s return a big deal in the grand scheme? Not really. The Suns aren’t very good. The Bucks haven’t captured many imaginations in the wake of an ugly performance last year and a brutal lockout. A pair of lackluster outings against Detroit and Chicago didn’t do much to ramp up the excitement for tonight’s contest.
However, this is the type of occasion when fans reveal their true colors. It will be interesting to see how Redd is received.
SportsPage Video of the Day
Michael Redd chats with reporters after his first start in more than two years.
BUCKS -- vs. Phoenix, 7 p.m. Tuesday
BADGERS -- vs. Minnesota, 7 p.m. Tuesday
GOLDEN EAGLES -- vs. Cincinnati, 2 p.m. Saturday
PANTHERS -- at Detroit, 6 p.m. Friday
5 a.m. -- Mike & Mike in the Morning
9 a.m. -- Green and Gold Today
10 a.m. -- The D-List
1 p.m. -- Scott Van Pelt Show
1:30 p.m. Aaron Rodgers Show
3 p.m. -- Homer and Thunder
6 p.m. -- Marquette Basketball Hour
7 p.m. -- ESPN Radio
5 a.m. -- Mike and Mike in the Morning
9 a.m. -- The Herd with Colin Cowherd
Noon -- Scott Van Pelt Show
1:30 p.m. -- Aaron Rodgers Show
3 p.m. -- Homer and Thunder
6 p.m. -- Badger Hour
7 p.m. -- ESPN Radio
Simulcasting 540 ESPN
Broadcasting in Spanish 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
THIS DATE IN SPORTS HISTORY (Feb. 7)
1942 - 1st indoor 15' Pole Vault (Cornelius Warmerdam 15' 3/8")
1949 - Joe DiMaggio becomes 1st $100,000/year baseball player (NY Yankees)
1958 - Dodgers officially become the Los Angeles Dodgers, Inc
1959 - Dorothy Rigney sells White Sox to Bill Veeck for a reported $27M
1962 - Sam Snead wins LPGA Royal Poinciano Plaza Golf Invitational
1965 - Cassius Clay becomes a Muslim & adopts the name Muhammad Ali
1969 - Diane Crump becomes 1st woman jockey at a major US racetrack (Hialeah)
1975 - NBA New Orleans Jazz end a 28-game road losing streak
1979 - Toronto Maple Leaf Darryl Sittler scores NHL record 10 pts (6 goals)
1982 - Joanne Carner wins LPGA Elizabeth Arden Golf Classic
1985 - NY Devil Don Lever becomes 57th NHLer to score 300 goals
1987 - Dennis Conner & Stars & Stripes bring America's Cup back to US
1988 - 38th NBA All-Star Game: East beats West 138-133 at Chicago
1988 - Heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson marries actress Robin Givens
1988 - NFL Pro Bowl: AFC beats NFC 15-6
1988 - Nancy Lopez wins LPGA Mazda Golf Classic
1989 - 40th NHL All-Star Game: Campbell beat Wales 9-5 at Edmonton
1989 - Tennis superstar Bjorn Borg, apparently attempts suicide in Milan
1991 - Bob Knight, Larry O'Brien, Tiny Archibald, Dave Cowens, Harry Gallatin & Larry Fleisher elected to NBA Hall of Fame
1992 - Mike Tyson testifies in his rape trial
1993 - NFL Pro Bowl: AFC beats NFC 23-20
1993 - Tammie Green wins LPGA Healthsouth Palm Beach Golf Classic
1998 - 18th Winter Olympic games open at Nagano Japan
1998 - NHL's Dallas Stars retire Neal Broten's #7
2010 - Super Bowl XLIV; New Orleans Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts 31-17 to win their first title.
FEB. 7 BIRTHDAYS
1910 - Buster Crabbe, 400m US swimmer (Olympics-gold-1932)
1938 - Juan Pizarro, baseball player
1950 - Burt Hooton, baseball player
1950 - Dan Quisenberry, baseball pitcher (KC Royals)
1951 - Benny Ayala, baseball player
1953 - Robert Brazile, NFLer
1953 - Dan Quisenberry, baseball player (d. 1998)
1955 - Charlie Puleo, baseball player
1955 - Rolf Benirschke, Boston, NFL place kicker/TV host (Wheel of Fortune)
1957 - Carney Lansford, baseball player
1957 - Damaso Garcia, baseball player
1968 - Martin Sinner, Koblenz Germany, tennis star (1990 Pretoria)
1968 - Michael Stich, Germany, tennis star
1968 - Peter Bondra, Lutsk Ukr, NHL right wing (Washington Capitals)
1969 - Fiona Robinson, Collie Western Aust, basketball player (Oly-bronze-96)
1970 - Chris Gardocki, NFL punter (Indianapolis Colts)
1970 - Stanley Roberts, NBA center (LA Clippers, Minn Timberwolves)
1973 - Billy Baumhoff, St Louis MO, soccer midfielder/forward (Oly-gold-96)
1973 - Juwan Howard, NBA forward/center (Washington Bullets/Wizards)
1973 - Tim Bowens, NFL defensive tackle (Miami Dolphins)
1974 - Ryan Phillips, linebacker (NY Giants)
1974 - Steve Nash, NBA guard (Phoenix Suns)
1975 - Alexandre Daigle, Montreal, NHL center (Ottawa Senators)
1975 - Marika Lehtimaki, ice hockey center (Finland, Oly-98)
1976 - Terry Battle, running back (Detroit Lions)
1979 - Jon Leicester, American baseball player
1988 - Matthew Stafford, American College Football player
1990 - Steven Stamkos, Canadian ice hockey player