Milwaukee Bucks: Imagining a documentary on the early 1970s Bucks

CLEVELAND, OH - FEBRUARY 5, 1974: (Photo by Ron Kuntz Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - FEBRUARY 5, 1974: (Photo by Ron Kuntz Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks' Oscar Robertson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
SANTA MONICA, CA – JUNE 25: (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images) /

Why it would make for a great documentary

As it turned out, 1974 was very much a last dance for those great Bucks teams.

It proved to be the last season of Oscar Robertson‘s career, something which The Big O viewed as being forced upon him by the Bucks. Robertson signed a deal to be an analyst with CBS following a dispute with Bucks GM Wayne Embry over the exec’s refusal to put a no-trade clause in a contract offer. It’s fair to say Roberston’s time with the Bucks could have ended on better terms than it did, given he observed:

"“They don’t want me here any more.”"

Although it was the summer of 1975 before Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was ultimately traded away from Milwaukee, he put in a trade request with management in October 1974.

Abdul-Jabbar was poked in the eye by future Bucks coach and then Celtic Don Nelson in the preseason of 1975, which led to Abdul-Jabbar punching a stanchion in frustration, breaking his hand, and missing the first 16 games of the season. Milwaukee went just 3-13 in that spell.

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Essentially, the Bucks’ rebuild started the moment the Celtics won Game 7 in the ’74 Finals.

In many ways, that makes this season a perfect juncture to imagine the cameras giving an all-access look at the Bucks.

Any look at this team would have to showcase, as an introduction, the whirlwind few years that included the foundation of the franchise, landing Abdul-Jabbar at No. 1, and winning a championship in 1971. But rather than focusing solely on those highs, this is the moment where there’s real, gripping drama.

This season proved to be the swansong for Robertson, one of the game’s all-time greats, highlights the final season where it could be said Abdul-Jabbar’s heart was fully in playing in Milwaukee, and it concluded with an all-time great Finals series which included Abdul-Jabbar making one of the NBA’s most iconic shots to force a Game 7.

Of course, it also comes with a major what if. What if the Bucks had won Game 7? Could Abdul-Jabbar have then been more open to staying in Milwaukee? Would Robertson have played on for one more year? Could the Bucks have gone on to win additional championships?

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A documentary could almost certainly help us to answer those questions.