In the afterglow of the Milwaukee Bucks’ 2021 NBA championship, some thoughts from an outdoorsman:
Isn’t the team’s name perfect for a Wisconsin franchise?
In a state with a population of about 2 million white-tailed deer, and more record-book animals than any other, the Bucks is a most natural and appropriate moniker.
Thanks to their inspiring run to the title, the team and its leader Giannis Antetokounmpo are an international sensation.
The positive attention is gifting Milwaukee with a moment or three in the sun.
The team’s logo is showing up worldwide on phones, newspapers and televisions.
And what an image it is.
It’s not lost on me and millions of other deer lovers that the Bucks not only won the Larry O’Brien trophy for the league title – they also wear a trophy on their chests.
The team’s current mascot is a 12-pointer with a “don’t mess with me” look on its face.
As a logo, that’s nothing but net.
Based on its antler spread and tine length – well outside the ears, high and wide and symmetrical to boot – it would easily make Boone and Crockett.
This deer, of course, is to be protected and respected as it has been since 1968.
That’s the year the franchise got up and running in Milwaukee and held a contest to select the team name.
More than 14,000 fans participated in a contest to pick the new name, according to Milwaukee Bucks records.
R.D. Trebilcox of Whitefish Bay was one of 45 people who suggested “Bucks.”
He saw male deer as being “spirited, good jumpers, fast and agile,” according to the franchise.
Once more, a swish.
For his efforts in helping Milwaukee’s new entry into the professional sports world gain an enduring nickname, Trebilcox won a new car.
I’ll concede some people might not think the Wisconsin state wildlife animal is the best choice for the franchise.
Charles Barkley, for example, the former NBA star and current TNT basketball analyst, once said “People always say he can run and he can jump. So can a deer and you wouldn’t put a deer in the game.”
But most of us in the Badger State would likely agree more with Bill Vaughan, the late Kansas City Star columnist, who said: “Everything pales in comparison to deer.”
This year that included Heat, Nets, Hawks and finally Suns.
The inaugural version of the team’s logo featured a caricature of a small-racked (well inside the ears) 10-pointer wearing a sweater emblazoned with the letter ‘B’ and spinning a basketball on one hoof while sitting atop the words “Milwaukee Bucks.” The team used it from 1968 to 1993.
Following the franchise’s 25th season, the image got an upgrade in May 1993. The modification was a more aggressive 8-pointer on a triangular background atop stylized Milwaukee Bucks lettering. The color scheme featured hunter green, purple and silver.
That lasted until 2006 when the Bucks updated the logo slightly, including red-and-green colors, but kept the 8-point rack.
In 2015 the home team changed its look to what is now being seen around the world.
The new Buck is an “imposing figure determined and focused on the path in front of him” and helps complete the “transformation of the team into an undeniable force,” according to the online franchise history.
It’s nice that team officials recognized they needed a logo that kept pace with Giannis’ development.
The changes included a 12-point rack, showing the “maturation of the Buck, and underlining the point that he has become an even greater force,” according to the team.
The logo also has an “M” within the chest chevron as an homage to Milwaukee.
Further, the Bucks historical review says “hard edges that appear almost cut from metal, and industrial but classic proprietary font juxtaposed against the curvature of the logo represents a symbolic union of urban and rural Wisconsin.”
I’ve thought it might be enough that deer were found on every continent but Antarctica; revered throughout human history and depicted in some of the oldest known cave paintings; can jump 10 feet high; have excellent senses of hearing and smell and, with eyes on the side of their head, have 310 degree field of vision; and are the only animals with antlers, which feature the fastest growing tissue in the world.
But now the Milwaukee Bucks have taken it to another level.
The team proved itself to be extraordinary in its path to the 2021 NBA championship.
The players, coaches and staff, buoyed by robust fan support, clearly deserve the title.
But that deer logo on the middle of Giannis’ chest now being seen around the world earns high marks, too.