Four-time All-Star Bob Dandridge had his number number 10 jersey lifted in front of a 16,216 crowd inside the BMO Harris Bradley Center in downtown Milwaukee. Dandridge played nine total seasons for the Bucks (1969-1977, then his final season in 1981-82) and was a key piece for Milwaukee's 1970-71 championship team that featured legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jon McGlocklin and Oscar Robertson. For the Bucks' only championship team, Dandridge poured in 21 points in the clinching game on the road in Baltimore. McGlocklin and Robertson were attendance for the ceremony (along with other former Bucks), while Abdul-Jabbar passed along a message through the arena video board. Dandridge also won a title in Washington when they were the Bullets in 1978.
During his career with the franchise, Dandridge averaged 18.6 points (11,478 total career points, which ranks fifth in Bucks history) and 7.3 rebounds per game in Milwaukee. He accumulated a total of 4,497 rebounds for his career, which is second behind Kareem. In 1969-70, he took home the honors of NBA All-Rookie, and later in his career, took home NBA All-Defensive and All-NBA glory in 1978-79. He's also third all-time in career games played for the Bucks (618), only trailing Junior Bridgeman and Sidney Moncrief.
Here's a transcript of what Dandridge had to say before the big moment, and you can view the ceremony in the video above. (Note: We apologize for the audio quality in the video.)
What are your emotions right now?
I'm sort of emotionless right now. I don't know how emotional I may get, especially with my friends and family here in Milwaukee. It's real special, and I'll try to hold back the emotions. This is probably the biggest honor that I have received as a professional athlete.
When you finally got notification from the Bucks, what were you thinking?
Overwhelmed, very pleased. I could easily say ‘at last', but I know that things happen in God's term, and this happened at the right time in my life because I have kids, and they are at the age where they understand the significance of the type of award I'm being honored with in this regard. A lot of times as athletes, we receive honors when our kids are seven and nine, but fortunately for me, I received it at a time my entire family can appreciate and enjoy it with me.
What did you think of other Bucks players wearing your jersey?
I was watching them closely (laughs). I was hoping none of the real superstars started wearing it. Normally in a situation like this, players have mutual respect for each other even if they didn't play in the same era for an award like this. I feel that if a player were wearing number 10, it would be an honor to him.
Does it make it more special to have your retirement against Washington? The other team you won a championship with?
I most of the time think of it as a partnership. Without the training and the lessons that I learned here in Milwaukee, I wouldn't have been prepared to lead Washington to a championship there. I grew into adulthood here, and I had the opportunity to play with guys like Big O and Kareem, so it was a learning process for me. Even after they left, I became the leader of this team and we struggled, but it was a good struggle because I was able to play with guys like Junior Bridgeman, Brian Winters -- who's numbers are also retired. So I think it's a partnership, there's a triangle between Bob Dandridge, the Washington Bullets and the Milwaukee Bucks.
What was that learning process like? What lessons can you pass on to this team?
It's just a matter of working hard. Championships come through hard work. I think this team is very fortunate to have a coach like Jason Kidd, just like we had a coach like Larry Costello, who had played in the league, knew all the nuances of the game, and knew what it takes to be a champion. I know that this team is headed in the right direction.
Oscar Robertson noted that you were the core piece to your team's era because you were steady and consistent. Is that the ultimate compliment?
Yes it is because the Big O was the one I primarily learned from in terms of patience and being able to pick the spots. But he was also capable of drawing everybody into his ultimate plan. He gave the ball up at times, he kept it, he dished it out. He knew he was going to take over the game. He's the greatest basketball player to play the game.
What are the memories you're going to cherish?
Playing in the Milwaukee arena, the wood chairs. I don't know how the chairs were for the fans, but there were no cushions for the players. It was just a great environment to be in. fans here just treated us great, treated us with a lot of respect. It's amazing how we could go out to a restaurant after a good game and the owner would pick up the tab. Milwaukee is just a very special place for me.
What type of connection did you feel with the community?
I feel its very significant, and for me, I came from a historically black school, so my hangouts were in the inner city of Milwaukee. Those were the type of environments that kept me stable, and I knew when I came downtown, there were going to be some great fans that embraced us. It's just a great community.