Milwaukee Bucks: NBA History and Players
Milwaukee Bucks History and Highlights
The Milwaukee Bucks are one of the best NBA teams in recent years and, despite coming from a smaller market, have always managed to field well-respected teams. They compete in the Central Division of the Eastern Conference and play their home games at the Fiserv Forum. Milwaukee has won two NBA championships so far and is the only team in the NBA history that has won the championship in both Eastern and Western Conferences.
Founding and early years
The Milwaukee Bucks were founded in 1968. When establishing, the fans had the opportunity to vote on the team’s name. Although the most votes went to the name Robins, named after Wisconsin’s state bird, the contest judges decided to go with the Bucks, the name with the second-most votes.
It didn’t take long for the Milwaukee Bucks to reach the top of the league and, by its third year, had already won the NBA Championship. It was the 1970-71 season, and the Bucks posted a 66-16 season record.
It all started with the 1969 NBA Draft, in which the Milwaukee Bucks used the top pick to select the center from UCLA, Lew Alcindor, who was later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The Bucks didn’t shine in Alcindor’s rookie season, but things fell into place with the signing of point guard Oscar Robertson in the following season.
The Bucks improved their record by 29 wins in the 1970-71 season, and the pairing of Robertson and Alcindor has made them one of the best duos in the league’s history. The Bucks competed in the Western Conference at the time and went past the San Francisco Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers, losing a game in both of the series to make it to the NBA Finals. There, the Bucks dominated the Baltimore Bullets, winning the final series by 4-0.
Sidney Moncrief was the next big name in the Bucks history who led the team to 11 consecutive seasons with a winning record and six consecutive division titles. The Bucks were constantly contenders in the Eastern Conference but failed to reach the Finals. It is worth noting that, in 1983, the Bucks became the first team ever to sweep the Boston Celtics in a Playoff series, and the first team ever to defeat Michael Jordan in a Playoff series, which happened in Jordan’s 1985 rookie season.
For most of the 90s, the Milwaukee Bucks were struggling, but they used the NBA Draft wisely to select Glenn Robinson with the 1994 first overall pick. They would also snap up Ray Allen in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 1996 NBA Draft.
Turn of the Century
Both Robinson and Allen would go on to play a major role in bringing the Bucks back to the NBA Playoffs in a resurgence that finally peaked in the 2000-01 season. The Bucks won their first division title in 15 years, and made it to the Eastern Conference finals, where they lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in 7 games.
Allen eventually left to join the Seattle Supersonics, and Michael Redd took over as the best player on the team. The shooting guard made the All-Star team and the USA basketball national team but, shortly after, suffered a knee injury that forced him to retire.
Following Redd, Brandon Jennings was the new hope for the team, but after a good start, the point guard was traded to Detroit and soon was out of the league.
Luckily, the Bucks decided to gamble on Giannis Antetokounmpo as an 18-year-old kid fresh out of the second Greek Division. He was drafted with the 15th overall pick at the 2013 NBA Draft and soon wrote himself into both the Bucks’ and NBA’s history books.
Antetokounmpo quickly became one of the best players in the league, winning back-to-back MVP awards. He also became the third player in the league’s history to win the MVP and the Defensive Player of the Year award in the same season.
Most importantly, the Greek Freak led the Bucks to the NBA Championship in the 2020-21 season, exactly 50 years after the Milwaukee Bucks won their first one.