Milwaukee Bucks: Meet the 1970s All-Decade Team

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, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
CLEVELAND, OH – JANUARY 30, 1973: Center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar /

Milwaukee Bucks: Meet the 1970s All-Decades Team – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

There was no debate as to who would occupy the center spot on the Bucks’ All-Decade team for the 1970s.

By the literal flip of a coin, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had single-handedly changed the fortunes of the Bucks, both on and off the court, with the first overall pick in the 1969 NBA Draft.

And with Abdul-Jabbar’s all-encompassing skill set, as headlined by his effortless shooting touch and his legendary ‘Skyhook’ shot, the former Bruin stood as the extraordinary force through which the Bucks and Costello framed their whole style of play through during his six seasons in Milwaukee.

As Abdul-Jabbar instantly took the NBA by storm, so did the Bucks as they enjoyed a 29-win improvement from their expansion season in 1968-69 to Abdul-Jabbar’s first year in 1969-70. The following season, Abdul-Jabbar won the first of his six NBA championships in what remains as one of the most dominant campaigns an NBA team has constructed throughout league history.

While the Bucks never reached that pinnacle again, Abdul-Jabbar glittered his Bucks stint with all sorts of honors, such as three Most Valuable Player awards, an NBA Finals MVP, five All-NBA selections and was the scoring champion in both 1971 and 1972.

After a disastrous 1974-75 season that all started with Abdul-Jabbar breaking his wrist after punching a stanchion, the Bucks relented to Abdul-Jabbar’s behind the scenes trade demand and shipped him to the Los Angeles Lakers. In many ways, that fracture served as a fitting metaphor to his time in Milwaukee splintering.

Throughout his 467 appearances in a Bucks uniform, Abdul-Jabbar averaged 30.4 points on 54.7 percent shooting from the field (69.5 percent shooting from the free throw line), 15.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 3.4 blocks and 1.2 steals over 42.7 minutes per contest.