MILWAUKEE - The last time a Milwaukee Bucks team won the NBA Finals was in 1971. In the 50 years since, there is one man who has kept a strong connection to the team as a broadcaster.
Jon McGlocklin – the "Original Buck" – sat down with FOX6 News ahead of Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Finals.
As McGlocklin points out, much as changed over the past five decades.
The NBA has doubled in size, added a 3-point line – and the Bucks no longer play at the Milwaukee Arena. But as someone who has been to the NBA Finals – and won – McGlocklin said it's important for everyone to enjoy the moment.
Hours before Tuesday's tipoff, McGlocklin couldn't help but smile.
"The Milwaukee Bucks are our family, so when your family does well, how proud are you? That's where we are," McGlocklin said.
Jon McGlocklin 1971 NBA Finals champion ring
Seeing tens of thousands of fans gather downtown on every game night to watch the Bucks' playoff push, McGlocklin said it's something he never could have imagined as a player – even after winning the 1971 NBA title.
"Fewer people are there. There was less media, no social media, so there was less hype, but there was hype," said McGlocklin.
Back then, the lineup was loaded: Lew Alcindor (later Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), Oscar Robertson, Bobby Dandridge and McGlocklin. The Bucks swept the Baltimore Bullets (now the Washington Wizards) in four games.
That taste of victory, a championship, is something McGlocklin will never forget.
"Coming back the next day after we won it in Baltimore and having, they say, 15,000 fans meet us at the airport, that was a very special moment or moments for all of us to experience," McGlocklin said.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then Lew Alcindor) and Jon McGlocklin
And with the Bucks now chasing another title, McGlocklin said everyone involved has to slow down and enjoy the ride.
"There's franchises that have not even been close and that are older than us. And then you see all the fans, and you say savor it, because this may never happen again. It just might not," said McGlocklin.
The Bucks now draw more than the estimated 15,000 airport visitors to the Deer District for a single playoff game.
McGlocklin added that his key to who will win this series is all about playing team defense. He picks the Bucks.