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Sidney Moncrief, Arkansas University and Bucks basketball hero

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Sidney Alvin Moncrief is an American former professional basketball player who played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) League for 11 seasons, 10 seasons being with Milwaukee Bucks, and played his final season with the Atlanta Hawks.

Moncrief was born on September 21, 1957, in Little Rock Arkansas, and started his basketball career in the early 1970s while at the University of Arkansas.

Together with Marvin Delph, Ron Brewer, head coach Eddie Sutton, and assistant coach Gene Keady, Moncrief helped in resurrecting the University of Arkansas basketball program.

The trio led the Razorbacks to the SWC championship and a Final Four appearance in 1978. Moncrief’s leadership and staggering form in the court made the school retire his jersey number not long after he graduated from the university to join the NBA, and is one of only two, along with Corliss Williamson. Moncrief was the school’s all-time leading scorer until Todd Day broke his record in 1992.

In 1979, Moncrief started his professional basketball career in the NBA when he was drafted 5th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks where he went on to spend 10 years with the Bucks.

His career with Milwaukee Bucks ultimately took off in 1982 when he hit the headlines when he made a buzzer shot to beat the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1982 playoffs.


Sidney Moncrief in action for Milwaukee Bucks in the mid-1980s. PHOTO: Courtesy

In December 1982 recorded a career-high seven steals in a loss to the New Jersey Nets. Two months later in February 1983, Moncrief scored a career-high 42 points, recorded 8 assists, and grabbed 8 rebounds in a 114-103 victory against the Houston Rockets. That postseason, on May 14, 1983, Moncrief scored 19 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and recorded 4 steals in a Game 3 loss against the eventual champion 76ers. Despite losing the series 4-1, the Bucks became the only team to manage to beat the 76ers that year in any postseason game.

The following season in 1984, Moncrief and teammates Terry Cummings and Paul Pressey combined for 76 points, an impressive 67% of Milwaukee’s points, in a 114-99 victory against the Detroit Pistons. Moncrief led the Bucks to the playoffs once again and eliminated Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls in the first round but fell to the Philadelphia 76ers once again in the semifinals of the playoffs.

In March 1986, Moncrief scored a record 27 points alongside recording a career-high 12 assists in a 125-116 regular-season victory against Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls. Moncrief led the Bucks to the eastern conference finals that year for the third time but again fell short, this time losing to Boston Celtics.

The following season in 1987, the Bucks again failed to advance to the NBA finals coming short in the semifinals of the playoffs losing to the Boston Celtics yet again in seven games. In game 6 win, Moncrief scored a playoff career-high 34 points to give Bucks victory and send the series to game seven. In the series which many thought would have been his last season in the NBA, Moncrief averaged 20.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.

The following season on December 20, 1988, in a 113-101 victory against the Dallas Mavericks, Moncrief scored 25 points thanks to making 13 of 13 free-throw attempts and added 5 more assists to his name.

Moncrief Bucks were knocked out of the playoffs that season in the semifinals by the eventual champions Detroit Pistons.

At the end of that season, Moncrief announced he is leaving for retirement from professional basketball but later on decided to play one more season with Atlanta Hawks.

In 1990, Milwaukee Bucks retired his number 4 jersey in honor of his dedicated services to the team. During the 1980s, Moncrief led the Bucks to the third-best winning percentage for the decade in the NBA behind Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics who were first and second respectively.

Moncrief Bucks

Milwaukee Bucks retired Moncrief’s number 4 Jersey in 1990.
PHOTO: Courtesy

In his times in the NBA, Moncrief was a five-time NBA All-Star between 1982 and 1986 continuously, he made it into the All-NBA first team in 1983. He was named into the All-NBA second team four times.

Moncrief was awarded NBA defensive player of the year twice in 1983 and 1984. He was named into the NBA All-Defensive first team four times between 1983 and 1986, in 1982, he was named into the NBA All-Defensive second team.

In 2019, Moncrief was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Nathan Sialah is a journalist by profession with interest in politics, sports, cryptocurrency and human interests with 5 years experience in Radio and Digital Journalism. This has helped Sialah develop a responsible approach to any task he undertakes or any situation that he is presented with.

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