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The Milwaukee Bucks are a professional basketball team based in Milwaukee, Wisconsinmarker. They play in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The current franchise owner is Herb Kohl.


Early years

Original Bucks Logo (1968–1994)
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 Arenamarker crowd of 8,467. As is typical with expansion teams, the Bucks' first season, 1968–69, was a struggle. Their first victory came in their 6th game as the Bucks beat the Detroit Pistons 134–118; they would win 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 (who became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1971) of UCLAmarker. The Bucks won the coin flip, but had to win a bidding war with the upstart American Basketball Association to secure him.

While it was expected that Alcindor would make the Bucks respectable almost overnight, no one expected what happened in 1969–70. They finished with a 56–26 record—a nearly exact reversal of the previous record. This was good enough for the second-best record in the league, behind the New York Knicks. The 29-game improvement was by far the best in league history—a record which would stand for 10 years until the Boston Celtics jumped from 29 wins in 1978–79 to 61 in 1979–80. They defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in five games in the Eastern semifinals, only to be dispatched in five by the Knicks in the Eastern finals. Alcindor was a runaway selection for NBA Rookie of the Year.


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 the title in only their third season, the Bucks became the fastest expansion team in NBA history to win the title.

The Bucks remained a powerhouse for the first half of the 1970s. In 1972, the Bucks recorded their third consecutive 60-win season, the first NBA team to do so. One year later, the Bucks were back in the 1974 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics. In Game 6 of the series, Jabbar made a patented "sky hook" shot to end a classic double-overtime victory for the Bucks. The Bucks lost Game 7 and the series to the Celtics. On June 16, 1975, the Bucks pulled a mega-trade by sending Jabbar to the Lakers for Elmore Smith, Junior Bridgeman, Brian Winters and David Meyers. 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. The trade triggered a series of events that led to a change in the team's ownership.

After the mega-deal, the Bucks had several seasons in transition, but most of these players would bear fruit. After being sold to cable television executive Jim Fitzgerald and several partners in 1976, the Bucks would enter into another era of greatness. It began with Don Nelson who became head coach in November 1976 after Larry Costello abruptly resigned. In the 1977 draft, the Bucks had three first round picks and drafted Kent Benson, Marques Johnson and Ernie Grunfeld. Johnson would become a staple in the Bucks for years to come. Rookie Sidney Moncrief made his debut in 1979.

On Oct 18, 1977, Jabbar, playing with L.A., punched Benson during a game. Jabbar broke his hand in the process. Benson had been aggressive under the boards and Jabbar, a martial arts blackbelt, snapped. Jabbar missed the next 20 games. Benson never played as aggressively again. Jabbar was fined $5,000 by the NBA. In February 1980, the Bucks traded Kent Benson to Detroit for veteran center Bob Lanier to fill in the hole left by the departure of Jabbar. They then won the Midwest Division title in 1980. After losing to Seattle in the semi-finals, the Bucks moved to the Eastern Conference's Central Division. There, they would win 6 straight division titles and have .500 seasons for the next 11 years. Within those years, the Bucks became perennial Eastern Conference contenders, primarily due to the strong play of Moncrief, Paul Pressey, Craig Hodges and the arrival of Terry Cummings, Ricky Pierce and Jack Sikma from trades with the Los Angeles Clippers and Seattlemarker respectively. Other notable players who played for the Bucks in this era included Larry Krystkowiak, Randy Breuer and Paul Mokeski.

Another 1971 NBA Championship notable on the Bucks was Jon McGlocklin ("Johnny Mac"), from 1968-1976.

Ownership and arena changes in the 1980s

In 1985, Fitzgerald and his partners decided to sell the Bucks. He was having health problems and some of his investors wanted to get out. The Bucks were playing in the smallest arena in the NBA and the city didn't want to build a new one. Milwaukee businessman (and now U.S. Senator) Herb Kohl bought the Bucks after fears that out-of-town investors could buy the team and move it out of Milwaukee. Before the transaction was complete, Jane and Lloyd Pettit of Milwaukee announced they were donating a new arena called Bradley Centermarker. In 2003, after considering selling the team, Kohl announced that he had decided against selling the Bucks to Michael Jordan and would "continue to own them, improve them and commit them to remaining in Wisconsin."


For most of the 1990s, the Bucks franchise was mired in mediocrity under coaches Frank Hamblen, Mike Dunleavy, and Chris Ford. From 1991 through 1998, the Bucks suffered seven straight seasons of losing records. During this period, the Bucks drafted Glenn Robinson with the first overall pick in the 1994 NBA draft and in 1996 acquired rookie Ray Allen in a draft day trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Both players would play prominent roles in the Bucks resurgence in the late 1990s.

Bucks logo from 1994–2006.
To honor their 25th Anniversary in 1993, the Bucks changed their uniforms, replacing the cartoonish deer in favor of a more regal one. Also, red was replaced by purple.

1998–2003 (The George Karl Era)

In 1998 the Bucks hired veteran coach George Karl. Under Karl's leadership, and with the steady addition of talent such as Tim Thomas and Sam Cassell, the Bucks grew to become an elite team in the Eastern Conference. In 2001 the Bucks won 52 games and the Central Division title. In the post-season the Bucks reached the 2001 Eastern Conference Finals, which they lost in seven games to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Alternate logo from 1994–2006
the strong encouragement of George Karl, the Bucks acquired Anthony Mason at the beginning of the 2001–2002 season. On paper, this made the Bucks the team to beat in the Eastern Conference for the 2001–02 season. On the court and off, however, team chemistry was destroyed by the presence of Mason. The Bucks, who at the season's midway point were the number four seed in the Eastern Conference, began an unthinkable free-fall, which culminated with a loss to the Detroit Pistons on the final night of the season, eliminating them from NBA playoff contention. This fallout caused tension between the team's three stars and coach, resulting in the eventual trades of Glenn Robinson to Atlanta (for Toni Kukoc and a first-round draft pick that they used to select T. J. Ford).

In the midst of the 2002–03 season, the Bucks traded their superstar Ray Allen and backup Ronald "Flip" Murray to the Seattle SuperSonics for Gary Payton and Desmond Mason. The trade allowed for increased playing time for Michael Redd, and with Gary Payton in the backcourt, the Bucks finished the season with a 42–40 record. The Bucks made the playoffs; however, the Bucks lost in the first round to the New Jersey Nets in six games. Team leaders Sam Cassell and center Ervin Johnson were traded to Minnesota (for Joe Smith). Payton would leave via free agency following the season. Coach George Karl's coaching tenure with the Bucks also ended after the season.


In March 2008, the Bucks' fans selected the franchise's 40th Anniversity Team, which included notable players like Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Oscar Robertson, Ray Allen, Sidney Moncrief, and Michael Redd to name a few.

On March 20, 2008, the Bucks announced that they would not renew general manager Larry Harris's contract, which was to expire June 30, 2008. On April 11, 2008, the Bucks hired John Hammond, formerly the Vice President of basketball operations for the Detroit Pistons, as their new GM, giving the Milwaukee team a fresh director recently associated with success.

On April 17, 2008, the Bucks announced that Larry Krystkowiak was relieved of his duties as head coach. On April 21, 2008, the Bucks announced the hiring of coach Scott Skiles, formerly of the Chicago Bulls.

On June 26, 2008, the Bucks acquired forward Richard Jefferson from the New Jersey Nets in a major trade for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons.

Later that day, the Bucks selected West Virginia's Joe Alexander with the 8th pick of the NBA draft. When Joe plays in his first game, he will be the first Taiwanese-born player in the NBA. On July 17, 2008, the Bucks signed guard Tyronn Lue and forward Malik Allen.

Later the same day, Milwaukee was part of a major deal involving the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Maurice Williams left for Cleveland, and Luke Ridnour came to Milwaukee.

In the 2009 NBA Draft, the Milwaukee Bucks selected promising point guard Brandon Jennings. The play of Jennings along with the improvement of Andrew Bogut are keys to the Bucks rebuilding in the 2009-2010 season.

Famous firsts in Bucks History

First Draft ChoiceIn the 1968 Draft, the Bucks selected Charlie Paulk of Northeastern Universitymarker in the first round (seventh overall).

First GameOn October 16, 1968, the Bucks hosted the Chicago Bulls, dropping an 89–84 decision in front of a Milwaukee Arena crowd of 8,467. Starting for the Bucks were Guy Rodgers, Jon McGlocklin, Fred Hetzel, Len Chappell and Wayne Embry. McGlocklin scored the first points in team history, draining a jump shot just 13 seconds in to the contest. Rodgers led the Bucks with 16 points.

First WinAfter dropping their first five games of the inaugural season, the Bucks claimed victory on October 31, 1968, a 134–118 decision over the Detroit Pistons at the Arena. Wayne Embry led the Bucks in scoring with 30 points, and became the first player in Bucks history to score 30-plus in a single game.

First NBA ChampionshipNo expansion team in pro sports history earned a championship more quickly than the Bucks, who captured the 1971 NBA title in just their third season of existence. The 1970–71 Bucks posted a 66–16 regular-season mark under Coach Larry Costello. In the postseason, they beat San Francisco (4–1) and the Los Angeles Lakers (4–1) before sweeping Baltimore in four straight for the title.

First Bradley Center GameIn front of a sellout crowd of 18,649 on November 5, 1988, the Bucks dropped a 107–94 decision to the Atlanta Hawks. Terry Cummings led the Bucks with 19 points.

First Bradley Center WinIn their second home game in their new home, on November 9, 1988, the Bucks topped Philadelphia 114–103 behind 31 points from Terry Cummings.

Season-by-season records


Basketball Hall of Famers

Julius Erving was drafted by the Bucks in 1972, but he never played a game with Milwaukee.

Retired numbers

Originally the retired numbers' banner was patterned after the Boston Celtics' retired banners, with seven numbers are placed in one banner. During the 40th anniversary celebrations, the banner was replaced by individual player banners designed to the Bucks jerseys they wore during their playing careers. In the ceremonies, the player's number was retired again to the rafters, and in the process were given framed Bucks jerseys in the current uniform design.

Other notable players

Current roster

First overall picks

Coaches and others

Hall of Famers

  • Eyan Lot (Former general manager; inducted as a contributor. When he became GM of the Bucks in 1971, he was the first African-American to serve in that position in the NBA. He would later go on to be the NBA's first African-American team president with the Cleveland Cavaliers.)

Current coaching staff

Coaching history

General manager history

High points

Franchise leaders

Individual awards

NBA MVP of the Year

NBA Finals MVP

NBA Defensive Player of the Year

NBA Rookie of the Year

NBA Sixth Man of the Year

NBA Coach of the Year

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

NBA All-Defensive First Team

NBA All-Defensive Second Team

NBA Rookie First Team

NBA Rookie Second Team


The Bucks' official mascot is Bango. The word "Bango" was originally coined by Eddie Doucette, the longtime play-by-play announcer for the Milwaukee Bucks. Doucette used the word whenever a Bucks player connected on a long-range basket. Appropriately, when it came time for the Bucks to choose a name for their new mascot, the name "Bango" won the contest.

Bango has been the Bucks official mascot for 30 years. He made his official debut on October 18, 1977, which was Milwaukee's home opener of the 1977-78 NBA season. In addition to the date being Bango's home debut, the game itself pitted Milwaukee against former Buck Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and his Los Angeles Lakers at the Milwaukee Arenamarker. Bango has worked hard to become popular with Bucks fans all throughout the state of Wisconsin over the years, appearing at schools, parades, and festivals as a goodwill ambassador for the team. His high-flying acrobatic dunks, daring stunts, and other entertaining antics still play an important role in energizing Bucks fans at the Bradley Centermarker. Since 2001, Bango has also made perennial appearances at the NBA All-Star Game.

At the 2009 Mascot Challenge, Bango was climbing on the backboard when one of the other mascots, Rufus D. Lynx of the Charlotte Bobcats, shot a ball which hit him in the groin area. Shortly after he was hit, Bango decided it would be a great idea to stand on the rim. While standing on the rim, Bango's right leg slipped through the hoop, got caught on the rim, and he fell through the basket entirely. Bango tore his ACL due to the fall but is now fully healed. A video of Bango injuring at the 2009 Mascot Challenge was downloaded on You Tube shortly after the incident occurred


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