One Richmond-area resident with a personal rooting interest applauds the Milwaukee Bucks capturing the NBA championship Tuesday night.
John Newman, the leading scorer in University of Richmond history, played three seasons for the Bucks as part of his 16-year NBA career.
“I really have some great memories of my time there in Milwaukee,” Newman, 57, said Wednesday. “I was pulling for Milwaukee.”
The Bucks lost the first two games of the NBA Finals to the Phoenix Suns, and then won four straight to take the championship behind star Giannis Antetokounmpo, a 6-foot-11 forward.
“This group to me really played well together. They even got better adjusting to the type of superstar that they have on the team,” said Newman, who scored 2,838 points as a Spider during 1982-86. ”I thought that was a great commentary on those guys because sometimes it’s hard to play with a guy who not only can catch the ball on the wing, or catch the ball in the post, but also he can grab the ball on a rebound and take it all the way.
“It can be difficult to play with a guy like that. I think they did have some hiccups early on, but they really made some adjustments, and also I think Giannis made some adjustments.”
As a 6-7 wing, Newman played the 1994-95, 1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons for the Bucks, averaging 8 points, 11 points and 9 points. He was a starter throughout 1995-96, averaging 33 minutes, and a reliable reserve the other two seasons. Newman played in all 82 games in each of his three of his Milwaukee seasons, a stretch when the Bucks did not make the playoffs.
“We had some great young players there. Couldn’t put it all together at the right time,” said Newman, who also played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks, Charlotte Hornets, New Jersey Nets, Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks.
“Some brutal winters, but some great summers in Milwaukee,” Newman recalled.