On this date: Bucks win 1971 NBA Championship


FILE – In this April 30, 1971, file photo, Milwaukee Bucks’ Lew Alcindor, who later was renamed Kareem Abdul Jabbar, smiles as he receives congratulations from Baltimore Bullets’ Jack Marin (24) after winning the NBA championship in Milwaukee. The Bucks’ first season wasn’t all that dazzling at 27-55 in 1968-69. But then they drafted Alcindor with the No. 1 pick. In 1970-71, the Bucks captured an NBA title by sweeping the Baltimore Bullets. (AP Photo/File)

(WFRV) – The Milwaukee Bucks were threatening to claim their first championship in nearly fifty years before the season was halted by the pandemic. Now as the calendar arrives at April 30th, we look back at the Bucks lone NBA title from way back in 1971.

That Milwaukee team finished with 66 wins during the regular season. This year’s Bucks team threatened to break that record, which still stands as the most by any team in franchise history.

Wesley D. Pavalon, right, presents trophy to Bucks center Lew Alcindor at ceremonies before Bucks-Los Angeles Lakers playoff game in Milwaukee at night on April 10, 1971. Alcindor was named the NBA Most Valuable player and won the league’s high scoring crown. Lew’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ferdinand Alcindor of New York, which did their son’s recognition. (AP Photo)
With Oscar Robertson of the Milwaukee Bucks setting apick, Lucius Allen drives for the corner in April 26, 1971 game against the Baltimore Bullets. Kevin Lughery chases Allen while Jack Martin moves in to pick up Allen. Milwaukee won 102-83 to take a 2-0 lead in the National Basketball Association’s best of 7 championship series. (AP Photo)

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar led the league in scoring and was eventually named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player. Kareem averaged 27 points a game in the final, including the 27 point performance in game four as the Bucks wrapped up the sweep over Baltimore.

Oscar Robertson averaged 19.8 points per game during the season, and closed out the title with a 30 point performance in game four.

How dominant was that Finals run for the Bucks, though? Not once in the entire series did they trail at the end of a quarter of half. Milwaukee shot better than fifty percent from the field for the entire series. At the same time holding Baltimore to forty percent, while the Bullets took over a hundred shots in two games during the series.

Bucks? Lew Alcindor fakes Baltimore Bullets? Wes Unseld out of position and makes lay up shot during championship round of National Basketball Association playoffs on April 28, 1971 at Milwaukee. Bucks are aiming for their third straight victory in the best of seven series for the NBA title. (AP Photo)

It took only three years for the Bucks to claim their first NBA Championship. To this date it remains the only one in franchise history.

Milwaukee was able to make the playoffs in each of the next three seasons, including a NBA Finals loss to the Boston Celtics in 1974, before missing the postseason in 1975. Abdul-Jabbar would be traded the following June to the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Bucks have not been back to the Finals since.

Four of the five starters from the 1971 NBA Championship team went on to have their numbers retired by the Bucks: 1 Oscar Robertson, 10 Bob Dandridge, 14 Jon McGlocklin, and 33 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

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