Dame Time: Hundreds of Bucks fans waited 3-plus hours to watch Damian Lillard walk into the Fiserv Forum

The Milwaukee Bucks have acquired Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard in a blockbuster trade. Naturally, Bucks fans are going to want to celebrate that.

The Bucks announced that Milwaukee residents would get their first opportunity to see their new All-Star on Saturday with what the team called a "Dame Welcome Rally." The event was announced Thursday night with a scheduled start time 2 p.m. CT on Saturday.

When the day finally arrived, the Bucks announced that the rally was still proceeding at 2 p.m., but anyone that just wanted to see Lillard wouldn't have to arrive until 3:45 p.m.

Still, hundreds of fans reported for duty at the Fiserv Forum, and the team did its best to keep them entertained as they stood outside, waiting behind barriers for Lillard to pull up.

That new arrival time came and went, still with no Lillard. At that point, there were multiple Milwaukee news outlets streaming a view of Bucks fans standing by the street as cars passed by. The Bucks announced a new arrival time of 5 p.m.

And then, finally, a Cadillac Escalade pulled up with Lillard and his family in tow. The crowd went wild and happily watched as Lillard walked into the arena. That was the end of the welcome rally.

At this point, we should probably unpack what a "welcome rally" means. Usually, those words evoke a player walking into a stadium and saying a few words to pump up the fans for the upcoming season. Sometimes they become memorable — "Not one, not two, not three ..." — and sometimes they're a little more muted, but the whole exercise is meant to keep the fans excited.

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - SEPTEMBER 30: Damian Lillard walks with his kids during a welcome rally at Fiserv Forum on September 30, 2023 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Damian Lillard felt the love when he arrived at the Bucks' Fiserv Forum. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) (Patrick McDermott via Getty Images)

What the Bucks did Saturday obviously wasn't meant to give their fans that sort of experience. In the team's defense, it didn't officially promise anything more than a chance to "celebrate and welcome Lillard to Milwaukee with music and members of the Bucks Entertainment Network, including Bango, on the plaza," with food, beverages and jerseys available for purchase, but the fact that Lillard showed up more than three hours later than expected underscores how unsatisfying the whole thing must have been.

The Bucks themselves might not have known what what to expect given that their own team account could only get a blurry picture during the few minutes Lillard was walking outside.

It's a small moment that will probably be forgotten the first minute Lillard is officially on the court in a Bucks uniform, but it was still a weird scene. Hundreds of Bucks fans reported to their arena and waited three hours for the chance to welcome Lillard, and that's about all they got.