Milwaukee hosts Utah tomorrow night, but the Journal-Sentinel’s Michael Hunt preferred to focus on the past in his Sunday column, noting the Bucks trail only Celtics, Blazers, Suns and Knicks for the most player numbers retired (seven — Oscar Robertson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Sidney Moncrief, Junior Bridgeman, Jon McGlocklin, Brian Winters and Bob Lanier). Glen Robinson’s no. 13 is currently worn by Luke Ridnour, and was previously donned by Mike James, leading Hunt to ask, “If the Bucks, in the time since Robinson left, have been willing to twice issue the number with which their second all-time scorer was synonymous, do they have any intention of retiring it? Does Robinson, who was traded six years ago after being arrested in a high-profile assault case, even deserve to be considered?”
What are the criteria? Should it be based solely on on-court achievement? Does the candidate also have to be a good and productive citizen like McGlocklin? Were McGlocklin and Winters worthy? How about Lanier, who played only 278 of his 959 games for the Bucks? Who™s next, if anyone at all?
That™s the easy part:
Marques Johnson and Bobby Dandridge.
Dandridge was an important piece of a championship team. Johnson starred for some of the greatest Bucks teams ever. If any more Bucks numbers are going to be retired, the next should be Johnson™s No. 8 and Dandridge™s No. 10, currently worn by Tyronn Lue.
Like Robinson, Johnson had off-the-court issues that he successfully overcame. Dandridge™s hard personality was difficult for the Bucks to manage at the time, but he has expressed regret for his behavior during his numerous trips back.
If those issues once stood in the way of the Bucks honoring Dandridge and Johnson, it™s way past time to move on.
The decision to retire a number apparently rests with a one-man committee, owner Herb Kohl, who was very fond of Robinson. No doubt it broke the senator™s heart when the Bucks were put in the position of having to trade him, not only because of the bad publicity from the arrest but also because Robinson™s career was in decline.
Time has a way of softening the past. But as for Robinson™s play, it would have to be on scoring alone because the rest of his game was limited at best. Had he made that open shot against Philadelphia to get the Bucks to the 2001 Finals, maybe it™s a different conversation. A better conversation for the Bucks is how wide, or limited, the field should be. If Robinson, why not Ray Allen?