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A Wisconsin based basketball franchise, the Milwaukee Bucks joined the NBA as an expansion team in 1968. After a difficult inaugural season, the Bucks made excellent work of the NBA draft, selecting Lew Alcindor out of UCLA. Known better as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, he put the Bucks on the map with his dominant play en route to their first playoff berth and Rookie of the Year honors. The Bucks second year saw them excel to the second best record in the league during the regular season and advance as far as the Division Finals where they were bested by the New York Knicks in five games.
Milwaukee would follow this up by a stellar third season which saw them finish the regular season with a record of 66-16. Aided by Oscar Robertson, who joined the team via a trade, Milwaukee won their Division. The Bucks tore through the playoffs, beating both the Warriors and Lakers in five game series before sweeping the Baltimore Bullets in the NBA Finals to take home the title as NBA Champions. This is the fastest that an expansion team has ever become champions in basketball.
The remained dominant and returned to the Finals just two seasons later, losing to Boston in seven games. At the end of the next season, Abdul-Jabbar requested a trade and the Bucks became a team in transition. However, by the end of the 1970s the Bucks were back and became a dominant team throughout the 1980s, making it as far as the Conference Finals three times while racking number six straight division titles and a winning record for 11 consecutive years. Sidney Moncrief led the way for Milwaukee.
The Bucks fell on hard times in the nineties, with only three seasons of winning records producing postseason basketball. All three appearances ended in first round exits. Towards the end of the decade, the tandem of young veteran stars Glenn Robinson and Ray Allen along with Sam Cassell propelled the team back from obscurity and deep into the playoffs. In 2001, the Milwaukee Bucks would miss the NBA Finals by one game, falling to the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference Finals in seven games.
The team began to disband shortly after that and Milwaukee lost the chemistry that led to their success. Since 2001 the Bucks had not advanced beyond the first round of playoff competition until sweeping the Detroit Pistons following the 2018-2019 season after winning their division with a record of 60-22 (tied for the best in team history). They would be dismissed in round two by Boston in five games. However, there is a lot of reason to have hope for the future in Milwaukee.
Head coach Mike Budenholzer had an amazing first season in Wisconsin. A starting lineup that includes Eric Bledoe, Malcolm Brogdon, Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez, and star player Giannis Antetokounmpo. If they can get Donte DiVincenzo back healthy next year then they are even more dangerous.
Bucks fans are very proud of their rich history and tradition of great basketball. Among the most loved players to have suited up for Milwaukee are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Oscar Robertson, Ray Allen, Sidney Moncreif, Terry Cummings, and Glenn Robinson. Click here for additional information about the Milwaukee Bucks.