Bucks to retire NBA great Bobby Dandridge’s number

Fred Jeter | 2/12/2015, 5:06 p.m.
Bob Dandridge’s No. 10 jersey soon will be hanging from the rafters at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, home of …

Bob Dandridge’s No. 10 jersey soon will be hanging from the rafters at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, home of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks.

An alumnus of Richmond’s Maggie L. Walker High School and Norfolk State University, the lean 6-foot-6forward, known

as“TheGreyhound,”was instrumental in the Bucks’ only NBA championship in 1971 under Coach Larry Costello.

Dandridge’s “10” is being retired Saturday, March 7, during halftime of the Bucks game against Washington.

“I’ll know it’ll be cold (in Wisconsin), but I think the excitement will melt the snow,” Dandridge told the Free Press in a telephone interview Wednesday from his home in Norfolk following the team’s official announcement.

“We had a young group and Coach Costello kept us disciplined and in control,” said Dandridge.

The 1971 team posted a 66-16 regular season record and then breezed through the playoffs with a 12-2 record against San Francisco, Los Angeles and Baltimore.

“As a player, Bob embodied everything we want our organization to stand for — hard work, passion, toughness and, above all, excellence,” said Milwaukee co-owner Wes Edens.

Dandridge was a fourth-round draft pick in 1969, the same year the Bucks selected UCLA’s towering 7-foot-2 Lew Alcindor as the first overall selection. Alcindor changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar following the 1971 championship.

In 1970, Dandridge made the NBA’s All- Rookie team.

That set the stage for the 1971 season. He averaged 18.4 points, eight rebounds and 3.5 assists to complement superstars Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson.

“I learned so much from Oscar,” said Dandridge. “Mostly I picked up on his work ethic. Oscar probably practiced harder than he played.”

Dandridge played in Milwaukee from 1969 to 1977.

He returned to the Bucks one final season in 1981. As a Buck, he ranks first in the franchise in minutes played (27,034), third in games (618) and fourth in scoring (11,478).

The Richmond native also had five productive seasons with the Washington Bullets — now the Washington Wizards — helping the squad to the 1978 NBA title.

In his illustrious NBA career, Dandridge scored 15,530 points (18.5 average), grabbed 5,715 rebounds (6.8) and had 2,846 assists (3.4).

He also was regarded as a fierce defensive performer, often guarding the other team’s top scorer.

From that same Bucks 1971 squad, Abdul- Jabbar, Robertson and guard Jon McGlocklin already have had their

numbers retired. “Must have been a pretty good team, to have four retired from the same squad,” said Dandridge.

Dandridge was a four-time NBA All- Star (1973, 1975, 1976 and 1979) and first- team All-Defensive selection (1979.)

Now residing in Virginia, Dandridge is a member of the Norfolk State University, CIAA and Virginia Sports halls of fame. As a youngster, he played at Maggie L. Walker High School under coach Stretch Gardner and at NSU under Ernie Fears. Dandridge scored 1,664 points in 74 games for NSU, while averaging 32.3 points as a senior. “This honor is long overdue,” said Edens.

“Now the entire organization is thrilled to put Bob’s jersey in the rafters along with the other legends.”

Some felt the Bucks waited too long in retiring Dandridge’s jersey. He disagrees. “This happened at the right time,” he said. “My family members are now old enough to appreciate the significance of the honor. “In fact, I’m more excited for my family and friends than for myself.”