Rest in Peace, Former US Senator and NBA Team Owner has Passed Away
Herb Kohl, the former Democratic U.S. senator from Wisconsin and once-owner of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, has recently passed away at the age of 88. The announcement was made by Herb Kohl Philanthropies, stating that he died after a brief illness.
A beloved figure in Wisconsin, Kohl had a significant impact on both politics and sports in the state. He purchased the Milwaukee Bucks in 1985, ensuring that the team remained in Milwaukee. Kohl’s commitment to the team extended beyond ownership, as he contributed $100 million toward the construction of Fiserv Forum, the Bucks’ current home, and played a crucial role in keeping the franchise rooted in Wisconsin.
In a statement, Herb Kohl Philanthropies emphasized Kohl’s deep love for Milwaukee and Wisconsin, stating that he touched an “incalculable number of lives” and was remembered as one of the most decent individuals to have walked the earth.
Kohl’s influence extended beyond sports into politics, where he served as a Democratic senator from 1989 to 2013. Notably, he was known for his quiet demeanor and effective work on issues significant to Wisconsin, particularly dairy policy. As one of the richest members of the Senate, Kohl stood out as the only professional sports team owner among his Senate colleagues.
Born in Milwaukee, Kohl’s journey included earning a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard University and serving in the Army Reserve. He played a crucial role in the family-owned business, Kohl’s grocery and department stores, eventually becoming the company president in the 1970s.
In addition to his contributions to the Bucks and politics, Kohl made substantial donations to civic and educational causes throughout Wisconsin. His philanthropy included a $25 million donation to the University of Wisconsin for the construction of the Kohl Center, a premier sports arena. This contribution remains the single largest private donation in the university’s history.
Kohl’s commitment to education was further evident in the establishment of the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation, which focused on providing scholarships and fellowships to students, teachers, and schools in Wisconsin.
In the Senate, Kohl prioritized issues that aligned with Wisconsin’s interests, including dairy farming. His dedication to the state’s dairy farmers led to the development of the Milk Income Loss Contract, offering support to farmers during challenging times.
A unique figure in the Senate for his humility and bipartisan approach, Kohl never accepted a pay raise during his tenure, consistently drawing a salary of $89,500 each year.
Upon his retirement, Kohl was succeeded by Democrat Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin’s first female senator and the Senate’s first openly gay member. Despite his impactful career, Kohl remained single and often emphasized that it allowed him the time to balance the demands of being a senator and an NBA team owner.
Want to know more about Kohl’s legacy? Check out the video below.
How do you think Herb Kohl’s dual roles as a senator and NBA team owner influenced his approach to public service?