He played collegiate basketball for the Indiana University Hoosiers, and was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 7th pick of the 1976 NBA Draft. He had a ten-year NBA career for three different teams (the Bucks, the Boston Celtics, and the Indiana Pacers). In 1984, he won an NBA title with the Celtics.
Buckner is one of only seven players in history to win an NCAA Championship, an NBA Championship, and an Olympic Gold Medal. He also was a State Champion while playing high school basketball in Illinois.
In addition to his playing career, Buckner was the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks for one year, from 1993 to 1994. Currently, Buckner is a color analyst & barker for the Indiana Pacers television broadcast team on Fox Sports Indiana. Buckner also was the play-by-play announcer on 989 Sports line of college basketball games for several years.
Buckner elected to play college basketball for the Indiana University Hoosiers under Coach Bob Knight. He ended his college career as a four-year starter and three-year captain at Indiana, and also played football for one year. He seemed to get along with volatile Coach Knight better than any other player in the Hoosiers’ history. “The one thing that I learned early was to respect authority figures, right or wrong,” Buckner told the Dallas Morning News concerning his relationship with Knight.
In Buckner’s freshman season, 1972–73, Indiana reached the Final Four, losing to UCLA. He played for the United States men’s national basketball team in the 1974 FIBA World Championship, winning the bronze medal. In two consecutive seasons, 1974-75 and 1975–76, the Hoosiers were undefeated in the regular season and won 37-consecutive Big Ten games. The 1974–75 Hoosiers swept the entire Big Ten by an average of 22.8 points per game. However, in an 83–82 win against Purdue they lost consensus All-American forward Scott May to a broken left arm. With May’s injury keeping him to 7 minutes of play, the No. 1 Hoosiers lost to Kentucky 92–90 in the Mideast Regional. Buckner, along with three of his teammates, would make the five-man All-Big Ten team.
The following season, 1975–76, Buckner served as a co-captain and the Hoosiers went the entire season and 1976 NCAA tournament without a single loss, beating Michigan 86–68 in the title game. Indiana remains the last school to accomplish this feat.
Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday spotlights…Quinn Buckner.