1. The crowning achievement
Determining the Bucks’ greatest playoff moment isn’t all that difficult when you take the time to consider what the ultimate, aspirational moment is for every team in the NBA.
The reason the NBA exists, the reason fans attend games and tune in on TV in their droves, and the reason discussions like this one take place to begin with, is that only one team can be crowned as the league’s ultimate winner on an annual basis.
When a team proves itself to be a real contender, it’s all about finding that one last transaction or detail that could push them over the edge. When a team isn’t close to that level, the focus shifts to rebuilding, as after all the goal is to build a team capable of winning it all.
Milwaukee has had many teams capable of doing that over the years, but only one of those has actually gone on to achieve that feat.
In a basketball sense, the 1971 Finals are not all that memorable. They certainly wouldn’t be fawned over by neutrals in the same way that could be justified for the Bucks’ only other visit to the Finals in 1974.
To be clear, the 1971 Finals were a procession. The Bucks were easily the best and most dominant team in the NBA, and the Baltimore Bullets were unable to come up with any solution to stop them from getting their hands on the trophy.
Milwaukee’s smallest margin of victory in the Finals was eight points, and they cruised to a sweep of a Bullets team that had been giant killers up until that point having beaten Philadelphia and New York in the two previous rounds.
The ease with which the Bucks got over that final hurdle doesn’t do anything to diminish the achievement, though. When Oscar Robertson left the court at the end of Game 4 with his arms raised over his head, the Bucks reached a pinnacle they still dream of returning to all these years later.
Considering the current team’s regular season efforts, it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to imagine new entries to this list playing out over the months ahead. Who knows, this could even be the team capable of creating a new No.1.