The Milwaukee Bucks, native to Wisconsin, have 15 division titles and one NBA Championship to their name. So how did a team from middle-of-nowhere America clinch an NBA title in its third season as a team? Let’s find out everything there is to know about the Milwaukee Bucks from then to now.
The Beginning Years
When the Milwaukee Hawks left Wisconsin after a four-year stay in 1955, Wisconsin went 13 years without having its own NBA team. That was until Milwaukee Professional Sports and Services, Inc. wanted NBA basketball to formally return to Milwaukee. The team was approved in 1968 and the locals in Wisconsin were given the chance to name the team. After a massive 40,000 entries, many chose the name “Robins” after the Wisconsin state bird.
The “Milwaukee Robins” didn’t stick, leading the team to adopt the name “Milwaukee Bucks” after the deer population in Wisconsin instead. The team’s lack of success during the inaugural 1969 season secured them the first-round draft pick. The addition of a UCLA player by the name of Lew Alcindor turned the team around during the 1969 to 1970 season. Alcindor, later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, helped the team to a 56-26 record, the best in NBA history at the time.
The following season in 1971, the Milwaukee Bucks clinched an all-time record 66-16 season thanks to the addition of players like Oscar Robertson. The 1971 team advanced to the NBA Championship for the first time in franchise history and during its 3rd year as a team. It only took the Bucks 4 games to snatch the championship title away from the Baltimore Bullets. In 1971, 1972, and 1973, the Bucks set an NBA record with 3 straight years of more than 60 wins.
The mid-1970s meant a period of change for the once-thriving Milwaukee Bucks. The team made it to the NBA finals but fell in game 7 against the Boston Celtics. 1975 was even worse for the team after the loss of superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to the Lakers. That same year, the team was sold to a cable television executive by the name of Jim Fitzgerald. In the 1979 to 1980 season, the team earned a division title for the first time after a three-year gap.
The Bucks continued with the post-season trend and saw playoff appearances during 12 straight seasons and won 6 straight division titles until 1986. During that time, the Bucks were once again put on the market and purchased by a senator by the name of Herb Kohl, who was afraid other buyers would lead to the team’s relocation out of Wisconsin (similar to what happened to the Hawks).
The Milwaukee Bucks have gone through a few logos since the team was first created in 1968 in Wisconsin.
1968 - 1973
The first jersey was worn until 1973 and was mostly green with white lettering and red borders. The name “Milwaukee” was etched on the front.
1973 - 1976
From 1973 to 1976, players rocked a white jersey with red script lettering that said “Bucks.”
1976 - 1993
The jersey worn until 1993 returned to a greenish color. The lettering was orange with white borders.
1994 - 2006
From 1994 to 2006, the Bucks wore purple jerseys for the first time in franchise history. This jersey had white lettering with black bordering on the inside. There were dark green stripes down the sides of the jersey.
2006 - 2014
Between 2006 and 2014, the Milwaukee Bucks returned to a white jersey. This jersey had “Bucks” written in dark green with a red outline and a green stripe down both sides.
2015 - Today
The current jersey was established in 2015 and is mostly green with white lettering reading “Milwaukee.” There are beige accents and borders throughout.