Pearl Jam's Jeff Ament did it first, and now the Milwaukee Bucks are following suit.
Less than four months after the rock and roll bassist brought Bob Dandridge’s No. 10 on stage at the BMO Harris Bradley Center and then raised it to the rafters during a Pearl Jam concert, the organization is going to do the same on March 7 when the Bucks play host to the Washington Wizards.
"It’s real cool," Dandridge said with a laugh as he spoke about the honor with OnMilwaukee.com Wednesday afternoon.
"Especially when family will be with you and friends will be with you and your peers and teammates will be there to sort of enjoy with you, and you know, Milwaukee was where my career got started. And, it was the place where I came as a 21-year-old and I left when I was 31. So that developmental part of your life is really something I think about."
The 67-year-old former All-Star played eight seasons in Milwaukee and made three All-Star teams while playing a key role in the Bucks’ lone championship season in 1971. He also played on the 1974 squad that lost in the NBA Finals, the last Bucks team to reach a championship series.
He then went on to win another championship as a member of the Washington Bullets in 1978.
Dandridge be the first Bucks player to have his jersey retired since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had his number raised to the rafters in 1993.
"Bob was always ready to get the job done," Abdul-Jabbar told OnMilwaukee.com. "He is one of a very few players to play on world championships teams for more than one franchise. I don't think Bob got the credit he deserved as a defensive player. He consistently did his job against the best the NBA had to offer. I'm glad he has been chosen for this distinction — it’s a no brainer!"
Dandridge credits the new Bucks ownership’s desire for wanting to reconnect with past and honor great players with why this is happening now, 23 years after he last played a game for the Bucks in the 1981-82 season.
"I think that has as much to do with it as anything," he said. "I don’t know why this was the time or what alerted them, but for me, it’s quite an honor to have my number retired with the other six or seven guys whose numbers are hanging in the rafters at the Bradley Center."
In a release sent out by the organization, co-owner Wes Edens said "While there is infinite excitement about the future of the Bucks, it’s the rich and storied history of this franchise that makes our team so special. As a player, Bob Dandridge embodied everything we want this franchise to stand for: hard work, passion, toughness, and above all else, excellence.
"This honor is long overdue, and the entire organization is thrilled to finally put his number in the rafters along with the other legends who have helped shape this franchise."
Dandridge, a 6-foot, 6-inch forward, played nine of his 13 NBA seasons in Milwaukee, and averaged 18.5 points per game while with the Bucks.
His number will join those of Oscar Robertson, Junior Bridgeman, Sidney Moncrief, Jon McGlocklin, Bob Lanier, Brian Winters and Abdul-Jabbar above the BMO Harris Bradley Center court.
"I’ve thought about it for quite a few years and then it sort of crumbled on the back burner, and then when new ownership came in and felt that this was something they wanted to do, I guess patience pays off," he said.
Dandridge said he had no other details about the ceremony at this time, but he hopes the Bucks can help coordinate the appearance of some old teammates.
"Once I found out, my excitement and pleasure with it then, I mean, the planning – they got all that," he said with a laugh. "I’ll let them work on the planning and who’s going to be there because they’re better at that than I am."
One man who will be there is former play-by-play man and "Voice of the Bucks," Eddie Doucette, who called many of Dandridge's games, whom he affectionately called "The Greyhound."
"Bob Dandridge was arguably the greatest fourth round draft pick in NBA history," Doucette told OnMilwaukee.com "Look at his stats on a team with the 'Big O' and 'The King.' His little baseline 15 foot "pancake J" was as soft as cotton candy. If it wasn't so soft, as flat as it was, its off the iron and in the first row. That rarely happened."
Then, to Abdul-Jabbar's point about Dandridge's defense, Doucette added, "As good as he was at the offensive end he really shined defensively. Just ask 'Dr. J,' Julius Erving. Hey, the Doc hated to deal with Bobby's defense. Of course, as soon as you saw him bolt out of the gate on a fast break you knew he was chasing the rabbit like all good Greyhounds, thus the nickname.
"Bobby D was a very impressive talent with an instinctive understanding on how to play the game. Few knew about him early on but boy did they find out. Does he deserve to have his number hung? Simple answer ... Air out number 10 and let it hang forever."
Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.
A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.
To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.
Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining OnMilwaukee.com.
In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.
Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.