GREENDALE — He's been with the Bucks since moment one. Bob Wanek, the team's official scorer. Recorded Jon McGlocklin's first bucket in franchise history. An injury halted him mid-season. But being with the team for more than a half century, that has elated him.
"It's full," Bob Wanek says with a laugh.
In his Greendale home, Bob Wanek has an amazing story.
"I started out when I was a freshman in high school," Wanek says. "And I was out for basketball. And a week before Christmas? I got blood poisoning in my foot. And it traveled up my leg. And the coach well, you can't play for a couple weeks. You wanna be a manager? And I said what does a manager do? And he says well you throw out the basketballs before the game. Collect the basketballs after the game. Make sure ten went out and ten came back. And then you score."
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Bob Wanek is 85. And the Bucks official scorer since day one, for 50 years. And can't even count the games he's done.
"We tried that one time and we kind of got lost in the shuffle. But it has to be close to 3,000 or more," Wanek says.
In the early days? It was a tougher process.
"One did the turnovers. One did the shots. One did the fouls and things like that," Wanek says. "We used to get together in our locker room after the game, and create the stat sheet. And run it off on a Mimeo. And that's when we passed it off to the press and to the players."
And he always had his favorites.
"Oscar Robertson who I still feel is the best player in basketball that I've ever seen," Wanek says. "I mean he had the knack of knowing on defense if somebody had the ball with him at center court. That guy could run around in circles, and go left and right and so forth? But Oscar would take the shortest route and meet him down closest to the basket before he would get a shot off."
Suffering a hip injury from a fall in January? Bob now watches with pride, from a distance.
"That was my life, and I live it," Wanek says. "And I still did for many years high school. And then did Marquette men, Marquette women and the Bucks. And you can ask my wife, it's half my season."
Yes, the NBA has their own official scorers and stat people for the Finals. But Bob is sorely missed.