Former Senator Herb Kohl: The Bucks Must Stay In Milwaukee


Former Wisconsin senator Herb Kohl says when he’s ready to sell the Milwaukee Bucks, the basketball team will stay in the city.

Kohl also promises to keep pushing for a new arena in Milwaukee.

Kohl spoke to reporters after a news conference introducing new Bucks coach Larry Drew – the team’s third coach in less than year. Kohl says he plans to stay owner of the Bucks for the foreseeable future, and that when the 78-year-old former Democratic senator does sell, it will only be to an individual or group committed to keeping the Bucks in Wisconsin.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

“When that time comes and the right person or group appears, then my mind will start moving in another direction. But, they must stay here. That’s the bottom line.”

Kohl’s promise comes as backers of a new arena to replace Milwaukee’s Bradley Center argue the Bucks could leave Milwaukee, if the new facility isn’t built. Kohl insists a new arena wouldn’t just be to meet the Bucks’ needs.

“We hope people understand how important it is for the community and for the state to have a 21st-Century facility. And in order to have that, we need the Bucks as an anchor tenant. I think it’s a mistake to see the facility as ‘for the Bucks.’ Because that’s not really true. It’s not like a baseball facility, which is baseball-only. What we’re talking about here is a facility that will host up to 200 events a year.”

A task force convened by a Milwaukee business group is reportedly looking at financing options, and a local religious coalition has asked that any taxpayer contribution include a substantial set-aside for public school recreational facilities.

It’s expected that the very wealthy former senator will open his wallet for a substantial contribution to a new arena, but offered no new thoughts on the size of that gift.