The Milwaukee Bucks are in the midst of a franchise reinvention. The changes started at the very top of the organization, with hedge-fund billionaires Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry buying the team from longtime owner and former U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl just under one year ago. They continue on the sidelines, where — whatever your thoughts on how he got there — Jason Kidd has helmed a 26-win improvement in his first year after taking the coaching reins from Larry Drew.
More than anything, though, it's borne out on the court. Long a middling, floundering and somewhat faceless bunch, the Bucks have embraced the "longball" identity Kidd developed during his lone year in Brooklyn, becoming a swarming, switch-and-recover, grind-you-down defensive squad that ranks second in the league in points allowed per possession. But while sound defense is the backbone of virtually every real contender, it's the possibility for offensive improvement inherent in the likes of sophomore stud Giannis Antetokounmpo and injured rookie Jabari Parker that has so many Bucks fans so eager for the future.
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The top-to-bottom changes continued on Monday night, as the Bucks unveiled a set of new logos during their win over the Philadelphia 76ers at BMO Harris Bradley Center. These Bucks are different, and starting next season, they'll look different, too:
Designed by Brooklyn-based firm Doubleday & Cartwright, the Bucks' new look sheds the red elements of the color scheme the team has employed since the 2006-07 season in favor of a pair of additions — "Cream City Cream" and "Great Lakes Blue" intended to evoke the brickwork that's a touchstone of the city's architecture and the "abundance of fresh water" in the surrounding area.
The new primary logo features a redesigned buck whose antlers have grown from the eight-point rack of the previous model to a 12-point structure now, which the team says is intended to show "the maturation of the Buck, [...] underlining the point that he has become an even greater force." The interior antlers form the outline of a basketball, and the Buck's neck forms an M, which — and stay with me here — symbolize the sport the team plays and the city in which it plays.
I'm pretty into the old-timey third logo, featuring the outline of the state of Wisconsin:
The outline of Wisconsin solidifies the identity of the state as essential to the fabric of the new Bucks brand. pic.twitter.com/qR6CwtBy9x— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) April 14, 2015
The blue accents there appear in all the places where the state of Wisconsin is bordered by water, which is a nice touch. The fact that the state itself appears as the third logo signifies ownership's desire to reach out beyond the Milwaukee area to the fans of Wisconsin as a whole — "This has been a very local team for so long that we wanted to really give an ode to the state," team president of strategy and operations Alex Lasry, son of co-owner Marc Lasry, told The Associated Press — though Lasry says it's got nothing to do with the franchise's attempt to secure as much as $220 million in state bonds to help fund the construction of a new arena and surrounding development project that could wind up with a total price tag of $1 billion.
Uni Watch's Paul Lukas has a great behind-the-scenes look at the design process and decision-making for all you aestheticians out there. For me, I'm intrigued to see what that cream coloring looks like on a jersey — the uniforms will debut this summer — and I'm kind of bummed that the color-scheme switch means Milwaukee will lose the throwback-style red alternate uniforms they've rocked since the '08-'09 campaign. (Yeah, it's simple and maybe Christmas-y, but it's just so clean.)
On balance, though, this seems like a neat reimagining of a somewhat stale look — a nod to the past combined with an attempt to try something new, all resting on a substantially embiggened rack. (So to speak.) What say you? Will you be rushing out to cop that new Cream City Cream merch, or will you maintain credit-card caution as you wait for the uniform unveiling this summer?
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