Friday, April 21, 2006

Bucks Logo and Nickname

ON JANUARY 22, 1968, THE NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION awarded a franchise to a Milwaukee group headed by Wesley D. Pavalon and Marvin L. Fishman. The group, called Milwaukee Professional Sports and Services, Inc., named Pavalon its President and Fishman Executive Vice President. The date of incorporation was February 5, 1968.

An application from Milwaukee Pro was registered with the Wisconsin Department of Securities for the sale of 300,000 shares of common stock to Wisconsin residents at $5 per share. Because the issue caught the public's fancy, an additional 125,000 shares were offered when the stock opened on the over-the counter market on April 24, 1968.

On the basketball side of the operation the team went though both the college and expansion draft under the watchful eye of the team's first head coach, Larry Costello.

All of these developments came about for a team that had yet to gain a moniker. That changed on May 22, 1968, when Milwaukee's second professional basketball team finally got a name -- the Milwaukee Bucks. More than 14,000 fans participated in a team-naming contest. According to the 1969-70 Milwaukee Bucks yearbook (which is now referred to as a media guide), R.D. Trebilcox of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, was one of 45 persons who suggested the name "Bucks." His reasoning: "Bucks are spirited, good jumpers, fast and agile." Mr. Trebilcox won a new car for his efforts in helping to position Milwaukee's entry into the professional sports world with an enduring nickname.

With a name for the franchise in hand, Bucks executives went to work on developing a logo and colors. The majority of the task fell to John Erickson, who commissioned Milwaukee commercial artist Matt Kastelic to develop the team's first logo. The original logo featured a caricature of a buck wearing a sweater emblazoned with the letter "B" and spinning a basketball on one hoof while sitting on top the words "Milwaukee Bucks."

The original official team colors of forest green, red and white were in use since their inception in 1968 through the 1987-88 season, although red was removed from the color scheme of the uniforms for the 1985-86 season and beyond. In 1988-89 the club adopted various hues of green; forest, kelly and lime; with a white accent. The changes in color did not affect the logo.

Then on May 23, 1993 the club, coming off its 25th anniversary season, announced that Milwaukee's NBA franchise would be represented by a new logo as well as new uniforms for the 1993-94 NBA season and beyond. During the 1992-93 season a transitional logo was utilized which featured the original logo superimposed over a triangle with a ribbon-like banner carrying word of the 25th Anniversary of the club -- 1968-1993.

The new logo depicts an aggressive frontal view of the head and shoulders of an eight-point white-tail buck (a male deer) on a triangular background atop stylized Milwaukee Bucks lettering. The color scheme features hunter green, purple and silver. The three colors are currently utilized on all uniforms, warmups and other official apparel and gear, as well as on the logo itself.

Perhaps no single person was more instrumental in the push for new uniforms, colors and logo than Bucks Vice President of Basketball Operations and then-Head Coach Mike Dunleavy. One of Dunleavy's first thoughts upon signing an eight-year contract on May 12, 1992 was to upgrade the image of the club's uniforms ... to instill pride among the players and make them feel good about carrying Milwaukee's colors in front of a national audience.
Green was retained as a link to past accomplishments. Purple was introduced as a contrasting color and one that, while currently in vogue, will stand the test of time. Silver provides a perfect accent and serves to highlight the deep, rich hues found in the forest green and purple. A number of color combinations were tested before the final combination became reality. Dunleavy even scoured Milwaukee-area department stores with his three sons, to get a feel as to how the youth market reacts.

In making the announcement of a new logo, bucks Vice President of Business Operations John Steinmiller commented that "the new Milwaukee Bucks logo is intended to carry the organization through the 1990's and into the next century as an impactful and memorable identifier. It reflects the new look of the Bucks team and is in keeping with the goals of the NBA and NBA Properties for teams to maintain a current and powerful presence in their local markets as well as nationally."

The new logo was designed by the Marketing Department of NBA Properties, Inc., in an effort headed by Creative Director Tom O'Grady. "The new Milwaukee Bucks logo is an image of strength and focused determination," according to O'Grady. "The solid logo design, incorporating the powerful Buck, portrays a confident, cohesive team. It is one unit, an attribute of any good team. The Buck itself gazes steadily ahead, as if to accept any challenge that may lay in its path. The theme of solidarity is repeated upon through the physique of the muscular buck and the heavy block lettering. The unique combination of colors -- hunter green, purple and silver -- display a regal spirit of character. The combination of these elements serves to create an impressive figurehead for the Milwaukee franchise. The design of the logo is contemporary but not trendy, and should be a logo the Bucks use for many years to come."

Milwaukee's first professional major league basketball team was the Milwaukee Hawks, who played in the Milwaukee Arena from the 1951-52 season through the 1954-55 season before moving to St. Louis, where a fellow by the name of Bob Pettit led them to great prominence and an NBA championship in 1958. While in Milwaukee, one of the Hawks' backcourt aces was 5-10 guard William "Red" Holzman, who went on to coach the New York Knickerbockers to NBA championships in 1970 and 1973.

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