Milwaukee Bucks: 30 Most Significant Moments In Franchise History

30 of 31

Mar 3, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the leading scorer in Milwaukee Bucks and NBA history, throws a souvenir ball to fans during game against the Utah Jazz at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Coin Flip

Words by Jordan Treske

It was literally the flip of a coin that changed the fortunes for the Bucks way back in 1969.

Due to the lowly 27-55 record the team had in the 1968-69 season, their first year as a franchise, the Bucks were pitted against the Phoenix Suns in a coin flip for the first overall pick in the 1969 NBA draft. The winner of the coin flip would be granted the rights of the highly touted Lew Alcindor, now Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The Suns called heads and therefore, the Bucks called tails. The coin landed on tails.

While the coin flip battle ended up going in the Bucks’ favor, the battle for Abdul-Jabbar didn’t just end when the Bucks selected him. The New York Nets, then out of the ABA, also took Abdul-Jabbar with the first overall pick in the ABA draft and a bidding war erupted between the Nets and the Bucks. Abdul-Jabbar laid down the ground rules and said he would only accept one offer from each team. The Nets bid too low and Abdul-Jabbar chose the Bucks, who bid $1.4 million.

It’s hard to pin the arrival of one person or player as the reason for a turnaround like the Bucks experienced the following years to come, but Abdul-Jabbar is the one of the few exceptions to prove that. Had either the coin flip been heads or the bid been too low, it’s likely the Bucks’ early successes might not have to come to pass. It’s funny how some things work out sometimes.

Next: 1. Bucks Win It All