Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman is seriously contemplating returning to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Bridgeman, who enjoyed a 10-year playing career for the Bucks from the mid 1970s until the mid ’80s, could be returning to the organization as an owner.
Bridgeman, in a telephone interview Friday from his home in Louisville, Ky., said he recently met with new Bucks co-owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens about joining their ownership group.
“They offered me an invitation to meet with them so I took them up on it,” Bridgeman said. “We met at their offices in New York and had a good conversation.
“I was impressed with their love for the game of basketball. They really understood the history of Milwaukee and what has gone on there and they’re appreciative of the opportunity given to them.
“They seem to be good guys. They seem committed to winning and bringing back the winning ways to Milwaukee. They know there’s a lot of work to be done, but they’re pretty excited about it.”
Bridgeman, who had his No. 2 jersey retired by the Bucks in 1988, is currently the president of Bridgeman Foods LLC. His company 375 Wendy’s and Chilli’s restaurants around the country, including more than 80 in Wisconsin.
Bridgeman, 60, was the eighth overall pick in the 1975 NBA draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. He was then traded to Milwaukee as part of a blockbuster deal involving Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Bridgeman played 10 seasons for the Bucks and, in eight of those seasons, he was a double-digit scorer. He is the Bucks’ seventh all-time leader in scoring with 9,892 points.
Bridgeman also has the distinction of having played in the most games for the Bucks: 711. His former teammate and friend, Sidney Moncrief, is second with 695.
The 6-foot-5 Bridgeman was more than scorer, though. He is tied with Terry Cummings for ninth place in Bucks’ history for most steals with 607 and ranks 10th all-time in defensive rebounds (826) and offensive rebounds (826).
Bridgeman, who graduated from the University of Louisville with a degree in psychology, was highly respected by his peers, He served on the National Basketball Players Association board for 11 years and became president of the NBPA in 1985, serving in that capacity for four years.
Lasry and Edens, billionaire investment executives from New York, have made it abundantly clear that they would like to add several partners with strong ties to Milwaukee and Wisconsin.
Bridgeman obviously fits the bill.
“I hope to sit down with again in the next week or so and talk about it,” said Bridgeman, referring to Lasry and Edens. “I’m definitely looking into it. In the next couple of weeks, we should know.”