Wisconsin State will add to its roster of NBA champions

The 2022 NBA Finals will have a Wisconsin flavor, with Golden State featuring two Milwaukee natives (Milwaukee King’s Jordan Poole and Milwaukee Hamilton’s Kevon Looney). The opponent will have their own tie in Wisconsin, either Miami with Tyler Herro of Whitnall High School or Boston with Sam Hauser of Stevens Point.

Hauser has played only sparingly in the playoffs, but he’ll still get a ring if the Celtics win. Looney already has a few rings in his name but will be looking for another while Poole is looking for his. Herro has already reached the NBA Finals but will be looking for his first ring.

It’s Wisconsin high school alumni (meaning they’ve played at any point in their careers) who made it to the NBA Finals, including those who walked away with championships.

Dick Schulz (1948 with Baltimore Bullets)

In this Oct. 31, 1996, file photo, former Toronto Huskies players, from left, Dick Schulz, Gino Sovran, Harry Miller and Ray Wertis attempt to steal the ball from former Toronto Knicks Ossie Schectman New York, the first person to score.  a basket in the NBA, at an event in Toronto to commemorate the original 1946 playing teams.

It’s before the modern concept of NBA basketball, but the Racine Park alum is credited with winning a ringside in 1948 with the Baltimore Bullets, beating the Philadelphia Warriors in six games for the Basketball Association of America. He also appeared in the 1949 finale, this time with the Washington Capitols.

Bud Grant (1950 with the Minneapolis Lakers)

Bud Grant coached in four Super Bowls with the Vikings and never won the title, but he did win an NBA championship as a player.

You may know the alumnus of Superior as a Minnesota Vikings coach who is part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Perhaps you know him as one of the greatest athletes Wisconsin has ever produced, who played in both the NBA and the NFL (and the CFL, for that matter, where he became a legend of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers). In 1950, he scored 5.5 points per game as the Minneapolis Lakers defeated the Syracuse Nationals, 4-2.

Jeff Webb (1971 with the Milwaukee Bucks)

The 1970-'71 NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks: seated, left to right: Bob Boozer, Greg Smith, Bob Dandridge, Oscar Robertson, Lew Alcindor, Jon McGlocklin, Lucius Allen, coach Larry Costello.  Standing, left to right: Coach Arnie Garber, Jeff Webb, Marvin Winkler, Dick Cunningham, Bob Greacen, McCoy McLemore, Assistant Coach Tom Nissalke.

Webb played at West Milwaukee High School, then Kansas State, then a season with the Bucks, and it was a good season. In 1970-71, he played 29 games with the NBA champion after earning a spot on the team with an open tryout, while briefly teaching history and physical education at Racine Horlick High School and making back and forth.

“Being able to play with two of the greatest players that have ever played (in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson) is something I never thought about,” Webb said during the Bucks playoffs. “Lucius Allen was third guard, and I was fourth guard, and he hurt his back as we were setting up for a west coast swing. I moved to third guard. We continued on a streak 20-game winning streak, and I felt like I was contributing; I happened to be in the right place at the right time.”

Fred Brown and John Johnson (1979 with Seattle SuperSonics)

Supersonics Fred Brown, 32, leads the field in Game 5 of the NBA World Championship in Landover, Maryland on the night of Friday, June 1, 1979. Left to right are Brown, Bullets Larry Wright, 32, Sonics Lonnie Shelton , 8, Bullets Greg Ballard, 42, Wes Unseld, 41, and Sonics Jack Sikma, 43.

Johnson (Messmer) scored 11.6 points with 8.4 rebounds per game in a 4-1 series against the Washington Bullets to win the championship, while Brown (Milwaukee Lincoln) scored 9.2 points per game. Both were top draft picks, with Johnson taking seventh in 1970 and Brown sixth in 1971.

They also appeared with the Sonics in the 1978 Finals, a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to the Bullets in which a 3-2 lead slipped away. Brown led the Sonics in scoring this series with 19.1 points per game.

Jim Chones (1980 with Los Angeles Lakers)

Jim Chones won an NBA title with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1980.

Chones, the Racine St. Catherine legend who later starred at Marquette University, didn’t get much of a shine as a character in “Winning Time,” HBO’s dramatic tale of the Lakers team from 1980 who won the NBA tile and gave “Showtime” a boost, but he played as many minutes as a player who got a starring role, Michael Cooper. Chones saw action in all six games, tallying 8.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game as the Lakers toppled the Philadelphia 76ers, 4-2. Chones, who was 30 at the time, played two more years in the NBA before moving overseas.

Caron Butler (2011 with Dallas Mavericks)

2010: Chris Paul shoots the ball over Caron Butler of the Dallas Mavericks.

It was a cruel twist of fate that Butler, who played at Racine Park, was injured in a game against the Bucks in Milwaukee and couldn’t make the playoffs that season for the Mavericks, who went on to defeat the Miami Heat for the crown. . Butler played in a Western Conference Finals but never saw playing time in the Finals. Butler is now the Heat’s assistant coach.

Kevon Looney (2017-18 with the Golden State Warriors)

Kevon Looney holds an NBA championship trophy that he helped win as a member of the Golden State Warriors.

Looney has two rings, as he was also part of the 2016-17 Warriors, despite being injured and unavailable to play in that postseason. But in 2018, he quietly did the dirty work as the Warriors repeated themselves, playing all four games in the sweep against Cleveland. He played sparingly, with 39 total minutes in the series and just 10 points, but he was also part of the teams that went to the finals in 2016 and 2019, and he played 20.8 minutes per game in the latter series. against Toronto.

Kostas Antetokounmpo (2020 with Los Angeles Lakers)

Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kostas Antetokounmpo (left to right).

Giannis Antetokounmpo got his ring with the Bucks in 2021, but the humorous family circumstance will always be that younger brother Kostas got his ring first, doing so in the “bubble” with a series win over the Heat, 4-2 . Kostas, who played at Dominican High School in Whitefish Bay, did not make the playoffs, however.

Finals reached

New York Knicks guard Latrell Sprewell
  • Terry Porter (Milwaukee South), with the Portland Trail Blazers in 1990 and 1992 (lost to the Pistons, 4-1; lost to the Bulls, 4-2)
  • Tony Smith (Wauwatosa East), with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1991 (lost to the Bulls, 4-1)
  • Latrell Sprewell (Milwaukee Washington), with the New York Knicks in 1999 (lost to the Spurs, 4-1)
  • Rodney Buford (Milwaukee Vincent), with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2001 (lost to the Lakers, 4-1)
  • Devin Harris (Wauwatosa East), with Dallas Mavericks in 2006 (lost to Heat, 4-2)
  • Tyler Herro (Whitnall), with Miami Heat in 2020 (lost to the Lakers, 4-2)

JR Radcliffe can be reached at (262) 361-9141 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @JRRadcliffe.

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