APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) — In 1979, with their first-round draft pick, the Milwaukee Bucks selected Sidney Moncrief out of Arkansas. He would spend 10 seasons with the team, and his success would be rewarded with his jersey number – 4 – being retired before he even finished his pro career.
Moncrief recalls the time leading up to the draft, saying the top five teams to draft were the LA Lakers, New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, and the Bucks.
“The only thing I knew was four of those places were cold,” he jokes with Local 5’s Paul Evansen.
After he was picked by the Bucks, he picked up an encyclopedia and started doing research on the city that would soon become his home.
“It was one of the most diverse cities in the country,” he recalls. “A number of ethnicities would come to Milwaukee because of the factories and all the jobs that were available.”
He says that diversity was reflected with the Bucks players and front office, adding that it was a model for how diversity and inclusion should look.
It’s a lesson that stayed with him, and he uses his experience as a way to teach kids about the importance of diversity and acceptance. Moncrief says the young generation has a lot to offer and they’re hungry for knowledge.
“We just have to feed it to them the right way.”
At the 2020 Red Smith Banquet, Moncrief says he was grateful to be the recipient of the “Nice Guy” award. He says being nice is a good trait to have and a great award to be given.
“I don’t care where you go. A frown and a smile is universal, and that smile just opens up so many different doors.”
Moncrief adds that he appreciates the work the Red Smith Banquet does to benefit young athletes and other programs. He gives credit to sports for impacting young people in critical ways and teaching good life lessons such as teamwork, responsibility, and a positive attitude.
“When it’s done the right way at an early age, it has a lasting impact on someone’s life.”