Former Bucks owner and Wisconsin senator Herb Kohl passed away this week at age 88, according to Eric Nehm of The Athletic, who takes a look back at Kohl’s legacy in Milwaukee. Part of that legacy, Nehm notes, involves selling the Bucks to Marc Lasry and Wes Edens and ensuring that they would keep the franchise in Milwaukee.
“His goal was to make sure that if we bought the team, that the team stayed in Milwaukee. That was the requisite for us owning the team,” Lasry told Nehm. “He cared deeply about the city, about the people and he cared deeply about the Bucks.”
In order to keep the Bucks in town, the team needed to build a new arena to replace the aging Bradley Center. While Lasry and Edens received some public funding and paid a portion of the arena cost themselves after spending $550MM on the franchise, an extra $100MM from Kohl helped push the project over the finish line.
“In an extraordinary gesture, he basically gave to us, towards the building of the arena, a $100 million gift,” Edens said. “And I think it’s one of the most extraordinary acts, philanthropically sports-related that I’m aware of, maybe the most. He gave us $100 million. … And I think that his $100 million was really the pivotal amount at the time. And had that not happened, then it was very likely the Bucks would be in Las Vegas or Seattle or wherever else they might be. So it’s extraordinary.”
“It was very important to him for us to keep the team in Milwaukee,” Lasry added. “He ended up giving us $100 million to build a new arena. And we had said to him, ‘Is there anything you want? Should we name it the Kohl Center? Is there anything you want us to do?’ And he was like, ‘No, no, this is for the community. This isn’t about me. This is about what’s good for Milwaukee.'”
Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:
- In a conversation with Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, G League Ignite prospect Ron Holland compared himself to NBA players Mikal Bridges and Jaylen Brown and explains why he believe he’s the top player in the 2024 draft class. Holland was atop ESPN’s 2024 draft rankings earlier this year, but has since slipped to No. 6.
- John Hollinger of The Athletic considers which teams will emerge as buyers and sellers in the coming weeks, noting that it would create some clarity if one team from the trio of the Bulls, Hawks, and Raptors begins pulling away with the No. 10 seed in the East, forcing the other two to become sellers.
- Within the same Athletic story, Hollinger observes that the annual G League Showcase in December used to provide teams with an opportunity to scout potential call-up candidates, but with so many of those players now on two-way contracts, the NBAGL talent pool isn’t as deep as it once was. Teams these days are more inclined to use the Showcase to get a closer look at players who are already on NBA contracts in order to gain more information for future transactions, per Hollinger. Still, Brandon Goodwin, the MVP of the event, is one notable free agent who boosted his stock at the Showcase and looks like a candidate for a 10-day deal next month, Hollinger adds.