Inside the NBA bubble: DJ Shawna grateful for once-in-a-lifetime experience

Former Badger women’s basketball player and Badger Gameday DJ Shawna Nicols is living an experience of a lifetime. The official Bucks DJ and Milwaukee native is throwing down tracks inside the NBA bubble for everyone from Giannis Antetokounmpo to Lebron James.

Nicols – better known as “DJ Shawna” – is no stranger to challenges, but she admits that the first week in Florida was tough. She wasn’t allowed to leave her hotel room.

“I think day five is when I felt the walls were closing in on me,” she said, “just so from a movement standpoint – to be able to walk and get fresh air. That’s something I will never take for granted.”

DJing at the actual games was also a challenge without any fans in the stands.

“Fiserv Forum has 17 thousand people on a game day. Here we’re at under 200.” she explained, “the interesting thing that I’ve learned is that my philosophy hasn’t changed. I’m here to add value to anybody that’s in that space.”

She definitely does her homework – studying social media accounts of players to see what songs or music they like, including Lebron James.

“Being able to play Smooth Operator for Lebron was one of my favorite moments as a DJ,” she said excitedly, “to watch him with those spicy smooth dance moves? That makes my heart happy.”

That’s been her motto throughout her career – to make people happy. But in this instance, she’s also grateful for what she looks at as an opportunity – something she’s learned since she was a high school basketball player in Milwaukee.

“[UW] Madison taught me this, my high school basketball coach taught me this… it’s always just bigger than basketball so to be a part of this is such an honor. It’s such a privilege, and I try not to take any day for granted,” she said.