A Team Player

IN SOME WAYS, little has changed for
Lucius Allen since he helped the Milwaukee Bucks win their lone
National Basketball Association title in 1971.

Back then, he was learning the game from teammates and future
Hall-of-Famers Oscar
Robertson
and
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
. Today, he's still asking for advice about
his job, only this time, it's from his wife Eve. Allen has been a
marketing and sales manager for pharmaceutical giant Bristol Myers
Squibb's Los Angeles office for the past six years. His spouse,
who's been with the company 12 years, is rated about three levels
above him.

The couple not only finds time to work together, but also raise
a family. Older sons Kahlil and Bakir followed their father into
basketball at the college level. Younger children Geoffrey, 5, and
Jared, 3, might some day do the same, although Allen wishes they
had different heroes.

"They each want to be
Kobe Bryant
," said Allen, 50, between signing autographs March
22 during the Bucks' 30th anniversary celebration at the Bradley
Center. "It used to be Michael Jordan, but now it's Kobe.
Hopefully, they can follow in the footsteps of all of us."

Flashback to the '70s
The only time the younger Allens have seen their father play is in
horse games at home. What they missed was a sweet-shooting,
lightning-quick, 6-2, 175-pound guard who played 10 years for four
teams, winning the one NBA title and coming close two other
times.

Some of the best memories from that career happened here in
Milwaukee, where former Bucks announcer Eddie Doucette nicknamed
Allen "The Jackrabbit." Some of those memories came back during
March's festivities.

"The fans here were just the greatest fans in the world," he
said.

"I don't remember paying for many meals here in Milwaukee. The
warmth of the people always was a big thing. I always enjoy coming
back.

"I remember the camaraderie we had with the team, even though we
had a lot of different personalities. We put that aside when we
were all on the floor."

Allen came to Milwaukee on Sept. 17, 1970 from Seattle with Bob
Boozer in return for Don Smith and cash. A teammate of
Abdul-Jabbar's (then Lew Alcindor) on the famed UCLA NCAA title
teams in the late 1960s, he was the Supersonics' first-round draft
choice in 1969 and averaged 9.8 points in 81 games his rookie
year.

Vital title team member
Initially with the Bucks, Allen was the first guard off the bench,
spelling Robertson and Jon McGlocklin. He averaged 7.1 points in 61
regular-season games and the same in 14 playoff contests as the
Bucks won their lone championship.

As his playing time rose dramatically, so did his scoring
average. It climbed to 13.5 in 1971-72 in 80 games and to 15.5 in
80 games in 1972-73. Allen was averaging 17.6 points in 33 minutes
of 72 games the following season when he tore knee cartilage on
March 15, 1974.

He missed the rest of the season and watched as the Bucks fell
one game short of another title, this time to the Boston
Celtics.

He returned to form to start the 1974-75 campaign, averaging
16.7 points in the Bucks' first 10 games. Then on Nov. 8, 1974, he
was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for guard Jim Price. Allen
played 56 games with the Lakers the rest of that season and
averaged 19.5 points per game, but the team failed to make the
playoffs.

Abdul-Jabbar rejoined his old college and pro teammate in Los
Angeles in 1975, but the Lakers still didn't advance to postseason
action. Allen did his best with a 14.7 average in 76 games. He
followed with a 14.6 mark in 78 games in the ensuing season, when
the Lakers lost to eventual champion Portland in the Western
Conference Finals.

Traded to KC
That would mark the end of Allen's career with his hometown Lakers.
On June 1, 1977, he was traded to the Kansas City (now Sacramento)
Kings for Ollie Johnson and future draft choices. He played 77
games in 1977-78 and averaged 11.9 points. The following season, he
played only 31 games and averaged 5.1 points before an injury ended
his season. On Oct. 8, 1979, the Kings waived him.

After retirement, Allen worked five years for Columbia Savings
and Loan in Los Angeles. "I used my contacts with agents and
players and invested their dollars," he said. "I was not a
stockbroker, but a money manager."

Allen later formed his own construction company, which performed
a lot of government, county and state work. "It did very, very well
until the savings and loan industry, where I was getting most of my
loans from, failed," he said.

He also worked part-time as analyst for Kings games in the
franchise's final year in Kansas City (1984-85) and first three in
Sacramento. "Having that time made my retirement a lot easier," he
said. "I could stay close with basketball, which is my first
love."

Allen has remained close to the game he loves as a long-time
Lakers and UCLA season ticketholder and through his older sons.
Kahlil graduated from the University of California-San Diego in
1996 and now attends law school. Bakir, an honorable-mention
All-American at the University of California-Santa Barbara,
graduated in 1997. He hopes to play in Australia and later the
NBA.

Disturbed by trend
What Allen's seen from his older sons' generation and the players
his youngest sons idolize disturbs him. "When I was with the Bucks,
we had a common thread to do whatever it took to get it done," he
said. "It seems like throughout the NBA today, it's two-on-two
games.

"I don't see one player making everyone else better. Now it's
more selfish. The younger players have to open up to suggestions
from players who have experienced this game, like Michael Jordan and Oscar
Robertson.

"It's difficult to communicate with today's players with the
earnings the way they are. It can happen through the Players
Association - have events like this where we can meet some of the
younger players and tell them what it takes to win. "The players
have to ask what they can do to enhance basketball; not what
basketball can do for them."

Besides his recent time in Milwaukee, Allen also attended the
25th anniversary celebration in 1993 when Abdul-Jabbar's No. 33 was
retired. Both trips gave him the chance to reminisce about the old
days and an old building.

"These newfangled arenas are nice," he said. "The Bradley Center
is really a nice place, but they have to build a tradition here. We
didn't let people come into the Arena and win."

Must have been something he learned from his old mentors.

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