The world lost a great one on Wednesday, as former Milwaukee Bucks owner and Democratic senator Herb Kohl passed away at 88 years old.
Kohl purchased the Bucks in 1985 for $18 million and did everything in his power to make sure that the Bucks stayed in his home state. When he toyed with the idea of selling the Bucks to NBA legend Michael Jordan in 2003, he ultimately declined to make sure they didn't relocate. Keeping a team in Milwaukee was far more important than money, which Kohl showed again and again.
Herb Kohl and his dedication to keeping the Bucks in Milwaukee will never be forgotten
Per former Bucks play-by-play announcer Ted Davis, current LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer called Kohl to ask what the highest bid for the team was when they were up for sale once again in 2014. It was $550 million at the time. Ballmer offered $1 billion to buy the team, but the one condition was that he would move them to Seattle. Kohl ultimately declined the offer.
In an interview he did with Gary D’Amato of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2016, Kohl said that even if someone offered him $5 billion, he would not have agreed to it if it meant the Bucks would have been moved elsewhere.
When he sold the team to Wes Edens, Marc Lasry, and Jamie Dinan in 2014, he donated $100 million of his own money to help get a new arena built for the team. Per that interview with D'Amato, Kohl also gave a bonus to every member of the Bucks organization and BMO Harris Bradley Center workers, which totaled around $10 million.
Kohl was dedicated to keeping the Bucks in Milwaukee, and fans should never forget that. Sure, fans can be critical of some of the decision-making and financial spending during Kohl's lengthy tenure, but without his dedication and effort, there would more than likely be no Milwaukee Bucks today.
For his dedication to keeping the team around, Kohl was given a championship ring from the Bucks after the team won the 2021 NBA Championship in a full circle moment. Rest in peace, Herb Kohl.
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