owner Herb Kohl mailed gifts to employees of the BMO Harris Bradley Center. (Gary Dineen/NBAE/Getty Images)
After 29 years at the helm of the Milwaukee Bucks, former owner Herb Kohl sold the team to Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry earlier this month. His exit has been unsurprisingly graceful; Kohl only consented to the sale of the team to a buyer committed to keeping the Bucks in Milwaukee; he thanked fans and the community for their support over his 29 years as owner; and as part of the sale, Kohl pledged $100 million of his own money to help build a new arena for the Bucks to call home.
On top of it all, employees of the BMO Harris Bradley Center have been receiving a personal letter from Kohl, including a check for $500. From Kent Wainscott of WISN Milwaukee:
"Today, I want to express my gratitude and appreciation," [usher Izeal] Atkins read from the letter.
It was from Kohl to BMO Harris Bradley Center employees, thanking them for their good work.
"That's why I am pleased to provide you with a gesture of my appreciation," Kohl's letter said.
"Then I go, and I open it up, and I see $500," Atkins said. "I am not quick to shed tears. I sat there and shed tears for maybe five to 10 minutes because nobody just walks up gives you $500."
"Five hundred dollars, so I was very surprised. I was very surprised. You don't hear about the people doing that," security guard Markeish Stringer said.
In surveying the world of professional sports from afar, it's easy to conflate the personal and professional. A gesture like this one demands that the two be differentiated. Although Kohl played his part in the Bucks' long-lasting misery, efforts like this one reinforce his thoughtfulness and generosity -- beats very much consistent with what we know of Kohl as a man and manager.