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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Robinson's NBA Contract Gets Political

MILWAUKEE -- Democratic Senator Herb Kohl and his Republican opponent have focused their campaigns on such issues as government spending, taxes and crime. But there is just no ignoring the "Big Dog."


Less than one month before the general election, No. 1 NBA draft pick Glenn "Big Dog" Robinson is a holdout with the Milwaukee Bucks, owned by Kohl, a Wisconsin Democrat who is seeking his second term.


Robinson, the nation's leading college scorer with Purdue last season, reportedly is seeking a $100 million deal from Kohl, who touts his congressional record as a fiscal conservative.


Kohl could score political points by bringing a top name to the Bucks, who have not made the playoffs since 1991. But he has said a nine-figure contract is out of the question.


The Bucks, who opened training camp late last week, reportedly have offered Robinson a 10-year contract worth more than $70 million. A recent estimate placed the value of the entire Bucks franchise at $77 million.


Robinson's shadow over the campaign has been acknowledged by Republican state representative Bob Welch, who trails Kohl in the polls.


In a campaign commercial, Welch holds a basketball and discusses Robinson. "They say I'm the underdog in the U.S. Senate race -- and when Herb Kohl signs Glenn 'Big Dog' Robinson, the Bucks, and Herb's campaign, will get a big assist," he says in the 30-second spot. "But this campaign is about your bucks, not basketball Bucks.


"I hope Herb signs 'Big Dog.' Vote for me and the buck stops here."


David Littig, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, said the Robinson affair could hurt Kohl's campaign. "People would be irritated if Kohl didn't get him," Littig said.


Kohl's image as a fiscal conservative would not suffer if the senator approves a jaw-dropping deal to get Robinson, said John McAdams, a political science professor at Marquette University in Milwaukee. "People aren't dumb, they can make distinctions," he said. "They know you've got to pay big money for star athletes."