Last week, in the wake of the passing of Bill Russell, the NBA made the decision to retire his number 6 across the entire league. As the only player to have ever been given such an honor, Russell’s lifetime spent as a competitor and winner on the court, activist and role model off it, will now forever stand apart from any other sportsman to have played basketball. It is, like the similar retirement of Jackie Robinson’s 42 across the entirety of the MLB, a lasting tribute from an organization that should continue to derive ever more depth and purpose in maintaining the connection to icons of its past.
Functionally, of course, this means 6 will be off-limits for players heading forward, although the league will allow those who currently wear it to continue to use it if they want. While numbers haven’t been assigned for the 2022-2023 Milwaukee Bucks, there was nobody on the final roster a year ago who sported 6 (Javonte Smart wore it for his stint in Milwaukee CORRECTION: I’ve been duly informed by my colleague Van that Luca Vildoza was the last Buck to wear 6 and, on the agonizingly small chance he makes to full-time roster, he may continue wearing 6 until he retires). For our purposes, the run of 6s in Milwaukee is at an end. Long live the 6s! (Correction: They maybe will!)
As content filler and as an excuse to take a stroll down Memory Lane, I’ve pulled up the list of 18 individuals who have worn 6 as a Buck for your perusal. In reverse chronological order, they were:
- Luca Vildoza 2022-???
- Javonte Smart 2022
- Jaylen Adams 2021
- Eric Bledsoe 2018-2020
- Axel Toupane 2017
- Terrence Jones 2017
- Steve Novak 2016-2017
- Kenyon Martin 2015
- Nate Wolters 2014-2015
- Marquis Daniels 2013
- Andrew Bogut 2006-2012
- Brevin Knight 2004
- Joel Przybilla 2001-2004
- Mirsad Türkcan 2000
- Orlando Woolridge 1993
- Paul Thompson 1985
- Pat Cummings 1980-1982
- Charlie Lowery 1972
- Bill Zopf 1971
Wow, what a group! Of the bunch, I think... Bogut had the best career wearing 6 as a Buck? He did appear in 408 games while in Milwaukee and started 400 of them which is a pretty good mark. Bled is the second option given the (relative) success the team had while he was here even if it ended in ignominy. And I absolutely adore the Marquis Daniels — “Nasty” Nate Wolters — Kenyon Martin — Steve Novak line of succession to that jersey number.
I’ll duly leave it to those who have been watching longer than me to fill me in on everyone starting from Brevin Knight backwards. Half the reason to watch sports is to randomly remember a guy from 30 years in your past, so please let it rip!
Go Inside Marquis Daniels’ Ride (Bucks YouTube)
Fun fact: If you tweet about Marquis Daniels — regardless of whether you tag him in it — he’ll find it and react to it almost automatically.
“Old soul” Antetokounmpo still hungry entering 10th NBA season (NBC Sports)
Of course he’s hungry. Did you see how he tore into those wings on some of those post-game press conference appearances with the local media?
It is a little hard to fathom that this season marks Giannis’s first decade in the league, although it also means we’re starting to hit the dominant middle stride of his career. We’ve not seen any slowdown at all in his approach or game, so here’s to another decade or more at the top of the summit!
Bobby Portis talks no-drama Milwaukee, Brooklyn’s KD conundrum & why young teams need old vets (Yahoo Sports) & Pat Connaughton on The Best Athletes in the NBA, Bucks Playoff Run, & Visiting Locker Rooms (Duncan Robinson’s The Long Shot)
A podcast appearance from Bobby Portis with Chris Haynes from Yahoo and one from Pat Connaughton with Miami-based highway robber Duncan Robinson. I haven’t had a chance to listen to either just yet, but if you’re starved to hear the dulcet tones of some Bucks, here’s your opportunity to get a dose of the good stuff.
The Seven Most Intriguing Under-the-Radar Deals in NBA Free Agency (The Ringer)
Another week, another list from a random outlet pointing to the Bucks as the potential beneficiaries of “sneaky” free agency. Sneaky in that nobody has a true clue how it’ll go. But when you’re trying to hammer together a winning formula, sometimes the best thing you can do is shake up the Australian Magic Eight Ball and pray we get something closer to “Signs point to yet” instead of “Outlook not so good”.
As an aside, big shoutout to Marvin Bagley III’s agent. Swooping in and getting $37.5 million from Detroit after surviving three-plus seasons in Sacramento is the agent equivalent of scoring 50 points in a closeout Finals game. Bagley will finish his career earning no less than $73 million. Amazing.
Bucks’ Hugo Besson To Play In France (Hoops Rumors)
Bon voyage, Hugo. We hardly knew thee and anticipate never hearing from you in connection with the Bucks ever again.
Fan Post of the Week
I sincerely thank dgroll1 for getting this piece into my inbox right as I was typing up the MMMR Sunday afternoon. The title is a bit of a mouthful, but hey, sometimes an inquiry requires an abundance of characters: “Could our GM or owner convince K Midd Jrue and GA to covert guaranteed $ into bonus money???”
As lightning-rod-man pointed out in the comments, you can’t really re-negotiate deals with guys outside of the periods when either you as the team or they as the player can opt out or sign an extension. Besides, normally guys look to get the biggest amount of guaranteed cash they manage and finagle over bonuses to help boost the top-line number their agents give to Shams to tweet about. The players union has nothing to gain from guys taking huge pay cuts like the ones mooted in this FPOTW winner.
The Social Media Section
He’ll forever be the guy who hit the franchise record-breaking three-point basket in that game against Miami that TNT just decided to stop showing midway through the third quarter
Free agent sharpshooter Sam Merrill has reached an agreement with the Sacramento Kings, league sources tell @YahooSports.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) August 12, 2022
Respect. Nick. Calathes.
Respect. Antidote. Health. ((???) Giannis has the strangest brand profile ever)
The Thanasis Effect*
Athens is always empty during that time of the year because Greeks are on vacation. Witnessing OAKA with 15k basketball fans is... insane! The Giannis Effect. pic.twitter.com/OgH1kqbcE8— Harris Stavrou (@harris_stavrou) August 9, 2022
Wausau saw the MarJon potential way before anyone else
dang couldn’t be a hotel https://t.co/WTNE0boBPH— MarJon Beauchamp (MJB) (@Marjon32) August 9, 2022
Wonder if he’ll just try playing the season with that cast on. He looks ready.
Having fun in Milwaukee: Confirmed
No joke, it looks like he’s already added a little muscle since joining up. On his path to becoming the spiritual physical successor to Serge.
I’ve not watched any of the Greek national team games live or in their entirety, but I have caught a couple of clips here or there. The thing that jumps out most to me is how Giannis looks even physically larger on the somewhat more compact FIBA courts. That and that Spain doesn’t seem super good. I also deeply appreciate the random observers who are watching sustained Giannis play for the first time in forever, see him do the same maybe-jumpshot-hesitation move on the perimeter and declare that he’s finally unlocking his potential as a shooter.
We’ve been had plenty of times before.