Forty-three years after leading the Milwaukee Bucks to a 1971 NBA championship, Abdul-Jabbar now wants to become one of the owners of his former team.
“The team is probably going to change hands soon, I don’t know what’s going to happen specifically, but I’m keeping an eye on it. I might possibly try to be involved, it would be great to be able to help the franchise where, that I worked for, get back to the top. They deserve it, the Wisconsin sports fans are incredible, and they deserve a first-rate team,” he said.
“The team very likely will change hands and there are a number of people that are interested,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “I’ve had some people approach me. But there’s nothing yet.”
Milwaukee Bucks owner Herb Kohl has said he is seeking additional investers to create an ownership group to oversee the franchise.
Both the Bucks and Kohl’s advisor Allen & Co., a New York City based investment bank, declined to discuss the impending sale and if Abdul-Jabbar would join any ownership group that eventually purchases the franchise that Forbes estimated is valued at $405 million.
“I talked with Mr. Kohl, but he’s talked to a lot of people,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “The team isn’t doing well and not making money. They will have to figure out a better business plan.”
Abdul-Jabbar lacks any ownership experience, but he has dabbled in various business projects.
In a throwback to his critically acclaimed role as Roger Murdock in the comedy “Airplane” nearly 34 years ago, Abdul-Jabbar also filmed a commercial spot for the Wisconsin Tourism Board where he is once again sitting in the cockpit. He has co-authored eight books and plans to release another one this year. He recently partnered with Starguard Collectibles, which has sold some of his sports memorabilia, including an acrylic painting of the former UCLA star and his inked fingerprint on a signed basketball for $5,600.
“Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan would have to have 50 arms a piece to sign as much bogus stuff as I see out there. People would come to me with fake jerseys to sign,” Abdul-Jabbar recalled. “We wanted to do something where everything is verifiable and authentic.”
Abdul-Jabbar believes the Bucks need their own TV network where they can sell cable subscriptions throughout Wisconsin.
“That brings your bottom line up and you can do the things you need to do to get good players.”
After Milwaukee accommodated Abdul-Jabbar’s trade request either to the Lakers or the New York Knicks following Oscar Robertson’s retirement in 1974, the Bucks have made 22 playoff appearances that include zero trips to the NBA Finals and 10 first-round exits.
“The Lakers had a lot of good luck, made their good luck and kept themselves in the right position to win,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “All of a sudden, everything went south with the injuries. That happens, but it’s cyclical. It seems like since I’ve left Milwaukee, they’ve stayed down. It’s been over 35 years and they have never really been in contention.”
Abdul-Jabbar has set history by remaining the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, perfecting the unstoppable skyhook and becoming the lone NBA player to compile both six NBA championships and six MVPs through a 20-year span with the Milwaukee Bucks and Lakers.
Jabbar was a record 19-time NBA All-Star, a 15-time All-NBA selection, and an 11-time NBA All-Defensive Team member.
In 1996, he was honored as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. Abdul-Jabbar played 1560 games in the NBA, averaging 24.6 ppg, 11.2 rpg in 36.8 mpg.Follow @exnbadotcom
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