MILWAUKEE — She's the voice you hear at all the Milwaukee Bucks home games, and for the first time ever, she's hosting the NBA Finals in the very city she grew up in.
From the time she was a little girl, Melanie Ricks knew she wanted to be the next in-game host for the Milwaukee Bucks.
"It was always my dream to do what Andrea Williams at the time was doing. I always looked up to that and I always thought to myself, 'I want to do that,'" said Ricks.
And after years of being a junior dance team member turned professional Bucks dancer, Ricks finally got her shot to do what she always dreamed of thanks to her boss.
"He knew I was studying broadcast journalism and he said one night, 'hey one of our hosts is sick, we need someone to fill in, any chance you'd want to do that?' I love connecting with fans, I love having fun, I love good vibes, I love being positive," said Ricks.
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Now, eight seasons and two NBA all-star hosting opportunities later, Ricks is taking on her biggest job yet: hosting the 2021 NBA Finals.
"Getting ready for the finals, it very much felt like this is surreal, but it's also very much here. Like it's real, I'm pinching myself. I always make sure that I have good vibes going into the arena. It's so important. I think that people feed off your energy a lot, whether you're on or off-camera," said Ricks.
Ricks says this opportunity has also given her a chance to show younger kids that you can always follow your dreams.
"It is so important in your region to have someone who looks like you, or someone who you can at least see yourself in their shoes. I believe that this moment is proof that you can do anything, you can be anything - you just have to work hard, you have to be patient," said Ricks.
And with one finals game now under her belt, she says she is ready for the next games to come.
"I definitely feel a lot more comfortable going into Game 4, I feel more at ease, I feel like we are probably going to win by even more than we did in Game 3," said Ricks.