Pacers’ Tyrese Haliburton calls out Bucks fan’s racist treatment of younger brother in Wisconsin return

Tyrese Haliburton grew up in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Pacers' Tyrese Haliburton

Tyrese Haliburton said Tuesday night that a racial slur was directed at his younger brother during the Indiana Pacers’ two-game stay in his hometown state for a pair of playoff battles against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Asked after the Pacers’ commanding 125-108 Game 2 win over the Bucks what it was like to be playing back in Wisconsin, the Oshkosh native revealed that his brother was recently “called the n-word” in the stands at Fiserv Forum Arena.

“It’s been good to have [my family] here. My little brother in the stands the other day was called the n-word, and so it was important for us as a family to just address that and that was important for us to talk about, ’cause that just didn’t sit right with anybody in our family,” Haliburton said, per Lori Nickel of the Journal Sentinel. “Just been important to have my family here right now. My little brother’s handled that the right way.”

It is unclear exactly when the incident involving Haliburton’s brother occurred. Arena security personnel were notified about it and apparently even identified the fan involved in the racist exchange, but they were not removed from Fiserv Forum, according to Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star.

Haliburton, 24, grew up in Oshkosh, about 80 minutes north of Fiserv Forum near Lake Winnebago. He was named the Wisconsin Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior at Oshkosh North high school in 2018, leading his team to a Division I state championship.

Tyrese Haliburton throws shade at Bucks crowd looking ahead to Game 3

Pacers' Tyrese Haliburton4/23/24

Haliburton scored 12 points and dished out 12 assists in his team’s convincing series-evening win on Tuesday night, playing conductor of an Indiana attack that racked up a gaudy 134.4 offensive rating. The Pacers shot 55.6% overall and 16-of-36 from beyond the arc, collecting 38 assists on 50 made field goals compared to just five turnovers.

Pascal Siakam dominated for Indiana, picking up where he left off in a strong Game 1. He finished with 37 points, 11 rebounds and six assists, shooting 69.6% from the field and going 3-of-4 on three-pointers as the Bucks—still missing an injured Giannis Antetokounmpo—proved helpless to stop him in both the halfcourt and transition.

While Antetokounmpo is progressing toward recovery from the left calf strain he suffered late in the regular season, there’s still no timeline for his return to the floor. That uncertain status makes the Pacers wresting home-court advantage from the Bucks in Game 2 extra significant.

Milwaukee is a completely different team on both sides of the ball without the 2021 Finals MVP. Beating Damian Lillard and company at least once while he’s sidelined was absolutely pivotal to Indiana’s hopes of eliminating the Bucks and advancing past the first round.

Another key for the Pacers? A home crowd that Haliburton, at least, believes will be far more impactful than the one he and his teammates dealt with while splitting Games 1 and 2 at Fiserv Forum.

“I’m expecting it to be unbelievable, no doubt about that,” Haliburton said of Indiana’s Game 3 atmosphere. “I mean, we’ve had regular season crowds better than what we’ve played in these last two games. So we expect a great crowd. A lot of people are excited about what’s to come in the series and just the energy in the city right now with everything that’s going on, but especially with us. We’re excited to go [back home].

Game 3 tips off from Gainsbridge Fieldhouse on Friday at 2:30 p.m. (PT).

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