Yesterday, I wrote about the 40th anniversary of the Bucks' 1971 NBA Championship. It was an amazing team, anchored by two Hall of Fame players in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson, that steamrolled its way to an NBA title in the franchise's third year of existence.
What stood out for me more than anything was the lack of attention that team has received over the years. The team never had a parade or any kind of civic reception. Local dignitaries, I'm told, used the excuse that the championship "caught them by surprise."
It's a sad commentary on one of the greatest teams in state history. In a city that threw a parade and to this day deifies a team that lost the World Series, the only evidence of the Bucks NBA title – and the city's last major league championship – is the banner hanging from the Bradley Center rafters.
Even if you looked, you wouldn't be able to find the trophy.
It's not on display at the Bradley Center. Same for the team's training facility at the Cousins Center in St. Francis. Surely, it's got to be sitting in a trophy case in the team's offices, right?
Believe it or not, the Bucks don't have one.
The Walter Brown Trophy, awarded to the Bucks 40 years ago, exists, but the team doesn't have possession of it. It belongs to the Basketball Hall of Fame which, I learned this week, doesn't even have it on display.
The trophy was used from 1949 until 1977 and was passed from team to team each year. The Bucks had possession of the trophy following their four-game sweep of Baltimore in the '71 Finals and then had to return it to the league.
The last team to receive the trophy was the 1983 Philadelphia 76ers who beat the Lakers in the Finals (and the Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals). After that, it went into storage and was replaced by the Larry O'Brien Trophy, which is annually awarded (permanently) to the NBA Champion.
Since then, the team has made efforts to obtain a replica of the trophy, but those efforts have yet to pay off.
The Bucks did a nice job this past season in honoring their champions. The retro jerseys were a classic look and an appropriate nod to an outstanding team. But those Bucks deserve much, much more recognition.
Waste of time: There was pageantry, pomp and circumstance, hours of senseless banter and non-stop television coverage. No, not the Royal Wedding ... I'm referring to the NFL Draft.
There is no bigger spectacle in sports than the draft. Now a three-day event, Chris Berman's over-the-top yelling, Mel Kiper Jr.'s "expert analysis" and shots of young men crying over the opportunity to make millions makes for passable entertainment at best.
How in the world is it possible to "grade" a team's draft? Not one of these guys has so much as walked onto a practice field. The closest they've come to NFL action is putting on a team hat and holding up a jersey with a No. 1 on it.
Ask any NFL player: rarely, if ever, does college success immediately transfer to the professional ranks. We'll hear, in the next few months, about draft day busts, disappointments and let-downs. A lot of that will have to do with the hoopla that comes from the draft as a entertainment property as opposed to a starting point to a professional career.
The world would be a much better place if the NFL Draft were relegated to behind-the-scenes status but that will never, ever happen.
No room for Redd: At his end-of-year press conference last week, Bucks general manager John Hammond hinted that the door might be open for Michael Redd to return next year.
The former All-Star's contract expired at the end of the season and he was limited to just a few games down the stretch due to a knee injury suffered last season.
Redd might very well be the kind of veteran sharpshooter the Bucks need heading into the future but any interest on the Bucks' part should be put aside. Redd's time in Milwaukee is done. He got his money. He did his part but it's time to move on and part ways.
Throughout the years, stories have grown about Redd's influence in the locker room. Questions have been raised about his commitment to defense and playing team basketball. His two-plus years of injury troubles may have matured him a bit but heading forward, the Bucks need to cut ties and find another route.
Redd will go down as one of the franchise's best players (though you can debate that all you want), but his time here should be done.