Milwaukee Bucks: Bob Dandridge finally gets his due

SPRINGFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 11: (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
SPRINGFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 11: (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

One of my favorite sayings is “they don’t ask how, they ask how many” and that applies beautifully to Bob Dandridge‘s Hall of Fame candidacy. It may have taken longer than we all would have liked, including Dandridge himself, but on Saturday night, the Milwaukee Bucks legend was finally inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Dandridge wasn’t the headliner, as he was overshadowed by more recent legends such as Paul Pierce, Ben Wallace, and Chris Webber. But it didn’t matter for Bucks fans or Dandridge, as it was long past time for him to get his flowers. Dandridge spent his first eight seasons with the Bucks from 1969 to 1977 before signing with his hometown Washington Bullets in the summer of 1978. Dandridge would end up returning to Milwaukee for his final NBA season in 1981-82 where he’d play only 11 games.

Now including the induction of Dandridge, there are now 15 players in the Hall of Fame that spent at least one season with the Bucks. He is the fifth player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame and also have his number retired by the Bucks, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Oscar Robertson, Bob Lanier, and Sidney Moncrief. Prior to Dandridge’s induction, Moncrief was the most recent Buck to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, having done so in 2019.

It’s the highest of honors for a particularly underrated and underappreciated player in Bucks history. It’s great to see that Dandridge was able to fully enjoy his induction ceremony and that he’ll be enshrined in the Hall of Fame for his terrific career.

Reflecting on the Hall of Fame career of Milwaukee Bucks legend Bob Dandridge

Although I wasn’t around to see Dandridge play, he has always been a name I’ve recognized as one of the all-time great Bucks, even if he was sometimes overshadowed by some of his teammates throughout history.

Dandridge was selected by the Bucks in the fourth round of the 1969 NBA Draft, the 45th overall selection. Selecting a Hall of Famer with the 45th pick would be a steal and should be the headliner of any draft class. But in a bit of foreshadowing to his career, Dandridge was in the same draft class as Abdul-Jabbar, so he didn’t even get the honor of being the best player the Bucks took in that draft.

In his second season, he helped the Bucks win their first NBA championship in 1970-71. Dandridge posted 18.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 3.5 assists averages in 79 games, playing over 36 minutes a night. Of course, he was overshadowed by his star teammates Abdul-Jabbar and Robertson. Known as an unbelievable two-way player, Dandridge was the guy tasked with guarding the opposing teams’ best wing players while also being asked to be a consistent scoring option.

Dandridge would get his due a couple of seasons later when he was named to his first All-Star team in a season where he averaged over 20 points per game for the first time in his career. He would go on to make three more All-Star teams, two more with the Bucks, and average over 20 points three more times as well.

In his nine seasons as a Buck, Dandridge averaged 18.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.5 steals across 618 games for Milwaukee. He would eventually get his number retired in 2015, going up to the rafters alongside Robertson and Abdul-Jabbar, as well as Jon McGlocklin, who was also a part of that 1971 championship team.

He would go on to win another championship with the Bullets in the 1977-78 season and appear in four Finals series across the 1970s. His scoring average actually went up in the playoffs, showing that he really was a big-time player. You’d think someone that had the elite two-way ability that Dandridge did would have gotten the Hall of Fame call earlier, and it’s something he wondered as well.

Nevertheless, Dandridge has finally been given the long overdue credit that he rightfully deserves as being one of the NBA’s truly elite players in the 1970s that just didn’t always get the recognition that some of his teammates did. Here’s his Hall of Fame induction speech which is a must-watch for a Bucks fan or any NBA fan.

It’s particularly wonderful to see so many people in the comments and folks on social media all in agreement that this is more than well-deserved and it took far too long for Dandridge to get his rightful place in the Hall of Fame.

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Congratulations to Dandridge on an outstanding career and on receiving the highest honor a player can receive.