Former owner of the Milwaukee Bucks and former Democratic U.S. Senator Herb Kohl passed away Wednesday at the age of 88, according to a statement from Herb Kohl philanthropies.
Kohl, a Milwaukee native, played a key role in keeping the NBA franchise in the state of Wisconsin when previous owner Jim Fitzgerald plotted a move in 1985. Kohl ended up purchasing the team for $18 million and served as the owner for more than 30 years.
“I am pleased, happy and delighted,” he said after landing the team. “The Milwaukee Bucks are in Milwaukee, and they are going to stay in Milwaukee.”
He ultimately sold it to Wes Edens and Marc Lasry for $550 million on April 16, 2014. He was the only senator to own a professional sports team.
After the Bucks won the NBA Finals in 2021, the former owner was invited to sit in the championship parade’s lead car on July 22, 2021. Due to his efforts to keep the club in Milwaukee, he was presented with a championship ring prior to the 2021-2022 NBA season.
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Kohl went on to attend Harvard University in 1958. He also served in the Army reserves from 1958 through 1965.
After his time in the army, Kohl returned to Wisconsin to help run his family’s grocery and department stores. Before entering politics, he served as the company’s president until 1979.
He went on to win his first Senate election in 1989 and represented Wisconsin until 2013. “The office doesn’t belong to me,” he said when announcing his retirement from politics. “It belongs to the people of Wisconsin, and there is something to be said for not staying in office too long.”