Inconsistent chatter from a Sacramento-based 'Sconi attorney.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Great White Hype

From Phil Shackton, via the Phat Phree:

Ah, tradition.

In a move that surprised, well, no one, the Milwaukee Bucks selected center Andrew Bogut with the number one pick in the 2005 NBA Draft. The Bucks selected the Aussie, who arrived in America by way of Utah (what, you thought CAROLINA would take him) after he snatched numerous Player of the Year honors. Most scouts noted that Bogut has excellent footwork, is a great passer for a big man and has range that will pull bigger, slower centers (that would mean you, Zadrunas Ilgauskas) away from the basket.

But even with his dazzling array of skills, there is a bigger bonus here for Bucks fans who have had to suffer watching Ervin Johnson (note to all casual basketball viewers – this is NOT Magic), and more recently Dan Gadzuric and Zaza Pachulia (really, that is his name) slup up and down the hardwood. He continues on a tradition of big white guys who have donned the glorious purple and hunter green.

In fact, there is an even bigger caveat here: Bogut has the honor of being the first white player selected as the number one overall pick since the Bucks selected Kent Benson with the top choice in 1977 (This is a GOOD thing?). The former Utah Ute is also the first number one overall selection for Milwaukee since the Bucks drafted Glenn Robinson out of Purdue (again, is this a GOOD thing?). The move by the Bucks reflects management’s goal of “reviving the tradition and history of the Milwaukee Bucks, and putting out a quality product on the floor for our fans every night,” as a press release noted. In reality, the Bucks couldn’t find another team to take the pick, and they sure as hell weren’t going to draft a high schooler with it (please note Charlie's excellent piece on Chicago’s finest, Leon Smith, for more on that), so Bogut made sense. Tie that in with a marketing exec's dream, and you had all the makings of a number one selection.

Many agents and media execs were envious of the Bucks marketing staff, and couldn’t help but drool at the prospect of tying in Bogut with some of the Buck’s former great pivotmen. “Are you kidding me,” said one NBA marketing executive. “That is perfect. Look at the history there. The possibilities are endless. I am sure it’s only a matter of time before you see billboards with Jack Sikma on one side and Bogut on the other.”

Though Bucks execs are tightlipped about any marketing platform they plan to roll out, former Buck star Randy Breuer has said the Bucks have already talked to him about appearing in promotional materials this season. “I expressed some interest,” said Breuer, the former Minnesota Golden Gopher star who the Bucks selected in the first round of the 1983 NBA draft. “I have heard they talked about getting all of the greats back together for a photo shoot. I talked to Jack (Sikma) last night and he said they had contacted him, as well as Brad Lohaus. That would be a hoot, eh? I mean, I got traded to Minnesota Timberwolves for Brad. He was even bigger and whiter than I was!”

That notion was confirmed later by Lohaus, who said that Bucks staff members had talked to him about some projects. “It is certainly an interesting opportunity,” he said. “But again, it comes down to dollars. Let’s face it. I certainly am not going go and help the Bucks get their shine on if I don’t see some serious Benjamins come my way. However, if they bring the right bling, I look forward to doing some stuff with Andrew. Who knows, maybe we can even play a little between some photos. That would be one hell of a game. I think the average vertical leap would be measured in reams.”

There had been talk that Mike Dunleavy would also be involved, but because of his coaching duties and the amount of time he has to spend hyping up his son’s talent (or lack thereof), that is highly unlikely. Still, two other former Bucks who also said they’ve heard the rumors of a reunion marketing program think “The Big D” will still be involved in some way.

“I can’t believe that if something like this surrounding Andrew materializes, that Mike (Dunleavy) won’t be involved,” said Larry Krystowiak, who added that the idea intrigued him and thought it would be a great way to have fans remember what “Milwaukee Bucks basketball is all about.” Another former Buck, Frank Brickowski, agreed, and said “We really are kind of a fraternity unto itself. After Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar) left, look at some of the guys we had here. Jack, Randy Breuer, Danny Schayes, Fred Roberts. Marty Conlon is often overlooked too, which is a shame. He epitomizes what Bucks basketball really is all about. Plus you have Lohaus. That is one guy they have to bring back. The fans loved Brad Lohaus. I can remember a bunch of kids at the old Mecca that used to sit in a section called Brad’s Vanilla Gorillas. Those were some good times.”

But apparently the "buck" won’t stop for all the big fellas. Paul Mokeski, AKA the White Whale, who has coached in the CBA and ABA but is better known in Wisconsin for his battles on the hardwood as a center for the Bucks (as well as his losses to police with his cocaine habit), said he has heard nothing from anyone at the Bradley Center offices. He fears his recent arrests involving cocaine and his alcohol-related offenses are scaring away those in the Bucks' front office. Mike Giminski also said he has not been contacted, though he quickly offered that he would take a break from his job as horrid color commentator to participate in programs involving Bogut. "I just want a call,” added Giminski. “I haven’t been right since I played in New Jersey. I miss Milwaukee. It was always home.”

Sikma says he is looking forward to meeting Bogut and welcoming him to the Bucks fraternity of Big White Guys. “He is one of us now,” added Sikma. “I want to welcome him to the family and show him what the future has in store.”

That thought certainly has to give Bucks fans some hope for the 2005-2006 season.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wrote this article for them a long time ago, and am glad to see someone sees how funny this "tradition" is that they have in Milwaukee.