The 69th NBA All-Star game will take place on Sunday, February 16, which raises a few questions. How many tears will be shed in the heart-wrenching tribute to Kobe Bryant? Will life imitate art in the form of Michael Scarn saving the All- Star Game from doom at the hands of Goldenface? And is Milwaukee gonna let the Windy City steal all the hype simply because the site of the exhibition is the United Center in Chicago? The answers are: Countless. No, that’s clearly just a fictional thing from The Office. Definitely not.
To expound on this last answer, let’s remember that our hometown Bucks currently have the best record in the NBA with a mark of 46-8. Beyond that, the franchise has a rich legacy of former and current All-Stars to boast, including four Hall Of Famers and the reigning MVP. If you break down the superlative on-court talent that has played in the Brew City in the last half-century or so, you’ll find an All-Star roster with a sneaky-great starting five and a rock solid bench. Here’s our all-time Milwaukee Bucks All-Star team.
Center — Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar)
Leading the team in beautiful skyhooks and name changes at the peak of his career, the all-time All-Star Bucks have a legendary big man in Kareem, the NBA’s all-time scoring champion with 38,387 career points. Drafted by Milwaukee in 1969, he was a Buck for six of his NBA record 19 All-Star Game selections. Sure, he’s better known for his time with the Showtime Lakers, but get a load of his points and rebounds per game average with each team: 30.4 PPG, 15.3 RPG with Milwaukee, compared to 22.1 PPG, 9.4 RPG with L.A. His social consciousness and, at times, surly demeanor made him a polarizing figure, but Milwaukee and Wisconsin owe him love for bringing home a title in 1971.
Power Forward — Giannis Antetokounmpo
The likely successor to LeBron James as the face of the NBA, the Greek Freak’s game is graceful, overpowering, and eclectic. He’s an athletic wonder, and now opposing teams are cringing at the way he’s expanded his shooting range. (Last season’s MVP netted a career best five three-pointers against the Lakers in December.) For a super-lanky dude who can dribble twice from half-court and find himself in dunking range, adding the three-ball to his arsenal will cause nightmares—unless you’re a Bucks fan. Sunday marks his fourth All-Star showing, which means Mr. Freak only needs 15 more appearances to tie Kareem’s mark. (If this claim comes to fruition sometime in the mid-2030s, we call dibs on becoming President.)
Small Forward — Marques Johnson
Johnson is credited with coining the term “Point Forward” in 1984, and he’s considered the pioneer of the hybrid position that was later played by the likes of Scottie Pippen and LeBron James. Be a basketball nerd for just one second and marvel at that fact. A 6’7” frontcourt star with great ballhandling skills, Johnson averaged 20.1 PPG in his career, along with 7 RPG and 3.6 APG. He was a Buck for four of his five All-Star nods, and the franchise showed him love by retiring his number 8 jersey in 2019. Now he’s an analyst for the Bucks. Johnson stands as another reminder of how fun the Don Nelson-led squads of the ’80s were to watch.
Shooting Guard — Ray Allen
It was always so funny to see guys who otherwise projected a macho image gush about the beauty of Ray Allen’s jump shot until someone had to wipe the drool from their mouth with a napkin. At the risk of objectifying jumpers, Allen’s jumper really was a perfect 10. Three of the Hall of Famer’s 10 All-Star nods were with Milwaukee, and yeah, he may be better remembered for winning a title in Boston as well as in Miami, but his 2000-01 season with the Bucks remains one of the best of his career. With the Deer making a deep postseason run, he averaged 22 PPG, 4.6 APG, 5.2 RPG, and made 48 percent of his shots. Jesus Shuttlesworth got game.
Point Guard — Oscar Robertson
The man who made the term “Triple-Double” famous was already a 10-time All-Star for the now-defunct Cincinnati Royals by the time he paired with Alcindor in Milwaukee. There, he added two more All-Star selections to amass an astounding 12 straight appearances in the mid-season spectacle. “Big O” holds the record for most Triple-Doubles in league history with 181. (For perspective, Russell Westbrook is second on the list with 146.) During Milwaukee’s title run in 1971, his efficiency was first-rate as he sunk nearly half his shots (49.6 percent), scored 19.4 per contest and dished 8.2 assists per game. A no-brainer Hall of Famer, the number 1 jersey that’s displayed on high at the Fiserv Forum belongs to Mr. Triple Double.
Center — Vin Baker
Three of Baker’s four All-Star selections came in Milwaukee, where he—a versatile athlete who could play center or forward—started his career in 1993. Baker was explosive by the basket, agile in the low post, and he was a good mid-range shooter too. His prime years were on the Bucks, where he averaged 18.3 PPG and 9.5 RPG compared to the 15.5 PPG and 6.9 RPG he posted for the Sonics, who traded for him in 1997. After his stint in Seattle, he became more of a journeyman due in part to his struggles with alcoholism and depression. But Baker has spent the last several years embracing recovery. A picture of redemption, now he can be seen on the Bucks bench looking dapper as an assistant coach.
Forward — Bob Dandridge
A three-time All-Star with the Bucks, Dandridge was that vital third weapon the Bucks needed to win the ’70-71 NBA Championship. In his 13-year career, he averaged 18.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game, and his game got even stronger in the postseason. Astoundingly, the Greyhound outscored every other player in the NBA Finals in the ’70s decade. (That list includes legends like Kareem, Wilt, John Havlicek, and Dr. J, by the way.) Dandridge’s number 10 was retired by the team and hoisted to the rafters in 2015.
Forward — Glenn Robinson
Both of Robinson’s All-Star nods came when he played with the Bucks. He was the first overall pick in the 1994 NBA Draft and he represented the franchise on the All-Rookie First Team of ’95. The Big Dog remains the second-leading scorer in Bucks history, trailing only Kareem. He averaged 20.7 PPG in his 11-year career, and his knack for getting buckets was remarkably consistent. During seven of his eight seasons in Milwaukee, Robinson averaged more than 20 points per contest. As for that iconic nickname, it may not be the most unique moniker anymore, but then again, we’re pretty jealous that no one has ever called us “Big Dog.”
Forward/Guard — Khris Middleton
We know this two-time All-Star fulfills the role of Robin to The Greek Freak’s Batman. We’re aware that sportswriters may lean on easy superhero analogies. And, yes, we remember when Middleton torched the Wizards for 51 points on a night in late January when Giannis sat, but are we aware of his nicknames? Khash Money, WD-40, and Baby Joe Johnson. Don’t ever let anyone leave you hanging on a high-five for knowing that. Khash Money is averaging over 20 points, six boards, and four assists per game this season, and he’s has yet to reach his ceiling.
Guard — Sidney Moncrief
Overshadowed by Magic and the Lakers and Bird and the Celtics throughout the ’80s, history still sleeps on the Bucks of this era, whose alpha was probably Sir Sid. “The Squid” was voted into five straight All-Star games from 1982 to 1986. During those years, he averaged 21 points and 4.7 assists per contest. Sid’s knack for shutting down his man and pestering the game’s elite scorers was even more sterling. He won Defensive Player Of The Year honors in 1983 and 1984, and made the All-Defensive First Team in the two seasons that followed. Long before number 4 was retired in Green Bay, Sid’s quatro was exalted in Milwaukee in 1990. The Naismith Hall Of Fame finally welcomed Moncrief into its exclusive club in 2019.
Coach — Don Nelson
No great NBA team is complete without a guy in a suit and tie standing by the bench having a screaming fit. For the Bucks franchise, that guy is Don Nelson for a while. Nellie was part of five championship teams in Boston during his playing days, and in his first coaching gig in Milwaukee from 1976-1987, he proved himself as a basketball mastermind. His overachieving Bucks won seven straight Central Division crowns, winning 50 or more games in each of those seasons. The team’s winning percentage throughout the ’80s was surpassed only by the Lakers and the Celtics. (And yeah, sadly the Bucks’ Finals push was stymied by the Celtics dynasty on more than one occasion.) Regardless, the namesake of “Nellieball” coached his various teams to victory an NBA record 1,335 times, with 540 of those wins notched for the Bucks.
Honorable Mention Coach — Mike Budenholzer
Bud is the reigning Coach Of The Year and the two-time head coach at the All-Star Game. A few months from now, we may have to revise this list with Bud over Nellie if the Deer can win their first title in 49 years this summer.