Earlier in 2018, I talked with former Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, and LA Clippers player, Harvey Catchings. We discussed his time in Milwaukee, and reaching the Conference Finals twice.
Trade to the Bucks
What was your reaction when you were traded to the Milwaukee Bucks?
When I found out I had been traded to Milwaukee from New Jersey, I was very surprised but excited about the opportunity. Bob came a few months into the season and really helped us in our drive to the playoffs. We had a lot of great players, Sidney Moncrief, Brian Winters, Marques Johnson, Quinn Buckner, Junior Bridgeman just to name a few.
How did you feel in the coaching system of Don Nelson?
Nellie was a player’s coach. He played in the league for a lot of years, so he knew the needs of the players and how to motivate us to get what he needed. Consequently, we were able to gel as a team and make a run of five years making to the playoffs. We would get almost there and just could not get past the 76ers and Boston.
How do you recall the 1983 and 1984 Conference Finals?
Once again, we felt that those were our years to win it, but we always had issues in the playoff with the contenders. It was still a nice run. Nine of the eleven years that I played in the NBA, we went to the playoffs.
Time spent in Milwaukee
Who was your best friend, but at the same rival on the court?
I used to hang out with Sidney and Junior for the most part. Quinn would get together with us from time to time. Bob Lanier was a good friend as well. When you talk about the best on a team, you always have to go back to the guys I mentioned earlier, When I played in Philly, Dr. J, Daryl Dawkins, and Caldwell Jones were friends of mine. When you change teams, things change, obviously, but I still enjoyed hanging out with them.
What is your highlight moment from your years in Milwaukee?
The greatest moment of my career was when I was a rookie with Philly and there was a game that we were losing to Atlanta. Being a rookie, I did not get a lot of playing time. But this game, our centers Leroy Ellis and Clyde Lee were struggling a bit, so he put me in the game and in less than 20 minutes I was able to come in and block 10 shots in a half.
That record still stands today if you look at the stats. The crowd was yelling my name and I just chill being in the arena with a sellout crowd. In Milwaukee it was having the opportunity to get to the Conference Finals by beating Boston 4 games in a row to sweep that round and get to the Finals.