The Milwaukee Bucks were formed in January 1968 when the NBA awarded a franchise to Milwaukee Professional Sports and Services, Inc. (Milwaukee Pro), a group headed by Wesley Pavalon and Marvin Fishman. In October, the Bucks played their first NBA regular-season game against the Chicago Bulls before a Milwaukee Arena crowd of 8,467. As is typical with expansion teams, the Bucks’ first season, 1968 – 1969, was a struggle. Their first victory came in their sixth game as the Bucks beat the Detroit Pistons 134–118; they won only 26 more games in their first year.
The Bucks’ record that year earned them a coin flip against their expansion brethren, the Phoenix Suns, to see who would get the first pick in the upcoming draft. It was a foregone conclusion that the first pick in the draft would be Lew Alcindor of UCLA. The Bucks won the coin flip, but had to win a bidding war with the upstart American Basketball Association to secure him.
NBA Finals – 1971
The following season, the Bucks got an unexpected gift when they acquired Oscar Robertson, known as the “Big O”, in a trade with the Cincinnati Royals. Subsequently, in only their third season, the Bucks finished 66–16—the second-most wins in NBA history at the time, and still the most in franchise history. During the regular season, the Bucks recorded a then-NBA record 20-game win streak. They then steamrolled through the playoffs with a dominating 12–2 record, winning the NBA Championship on April 30, 1971, by sweeping the Baltimore Bullets in four games. By winning it all in only their third season, the Bucks became the fastest expansion team in NBA history to win the championship, however four decades later, it remains the only title in club history.
When the season ended, Abdul-Jabbar made the stunning announcement that he no longer wished to play for the Bucks, stating that he needed the big city, requesting a trade to either Los Angeles or New York. The front office was unable to convince him otherwise and on June 16, 1975, the Bucks pulled a mega-trade by sending Abdul-Jabbar to the Lakers for Elmore Smith, Junior Bridgeman, Brian Winters and David Meyers. The trade triggered a series of events that led to a change in the team’s ownership. Jim Fitzgerald, the Bucks largest stockholder, opposed the trade and wanted to sell his stock. Although Fitzgerald was the largest stockholder, he didn’t own enough stock to control the team.
On July 6, 2015, Bucks president Peter Feigin stated if public funding for a new arena falls through, the NBA may buy the team and move it to Las Vegas or Seattle. The latter city could be the frontrunner, as the city had a proven fanbase with the Seattle SuperSonics (a name the Bucks would more than likely pick up with a move to the city), and the NBA only needs a $25 million profit to buy the Bucks and move them to one of the two aforementioned cities. Current Bucks owners Wes Edens, Marc Lasry and Jamie Dinan combined with Herb Kohl to pledge $250 million for the new arena and are seeking a match from the public. Of those funds, $93 million would come from the Wisconsin Center District in the form of new debt on Milwaukee citizens. The district wouldn’t commence repaying the bonds until 13 years thereafter.
The Milwaukee Bucks are an American professional basketball franchise based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Bucks compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member team of the league’s Eastern Conference Central Division. The team was founded in 1968 as an expansion team, and played at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Former U.S. Senator Herb Kohl was the long-time owner of the team, with John Hammond as current general manager; as of April 16, 2014 a group led by billionaire hedge fund managers Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry agreed to purchase a majority interest in the team from Kohl, a sale which was approved by the owners of the NBA and its Board of Governors a month later on May 16. The team is currently valued at $675 million according to Forbes, ranking second-to-last in the league.
1968 – Present / National Basketball Association
1968 – Present / Milwaukee Bucks
Bucks – This team’s nickname was chosen from more than 14,000 contest entries, and the winner was R.D. Treblicox of Whitefish Bay, Wis. His choice of Bucks for the club that entered the NBA in 1968 won him a new car.
Contest judges chose a name that reflected the fish and game area “because it is indigenous to Wisconsin,” said then-General Manager John Erickson. Given the hunting tradition in Wisconsin, they saw bucks as being spirited, good jumpers, fast and agile.
“The predominance of bucks led us to the name.”
NBA Championships 1
2019 – Present / Fiserv Forum
2012 – 2018 / BMO Harris Bradley Center
1988 – 2012 / Bradley Center
1968 – 1988 / Milwaukee Arena
2014 – Present / Wesley Edens & Marc Lasry
1985 – 2014 / U.S. Senator Herb Kohl
1976 – 1985 / Jim Fitzgerald
1968 – 1976 / Milwaukee Professional Sports and Services, Inc.
1 Oscar Robertson
2 Junior Bridgeman
4 Sidney Moncrief
10 Bob Dandridge
14 Jon McGlocklin
16 Bob Lanier
32 Brian Winters
33 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
*Blue is this team’s history