Bucks Mascot Bango Restores Balance & Respect…Maybe

This past Monday during Game 4 of the Atlanta Hawks at Milwaukee Bucks inside the Bradley Center, Bucks mascot, Bango, threw down one of the most risky dunk attempts I’ve ever seen. Standing on what must’ve been an 18-foot stepladder, Bango climbed to the very top. Each step higher he went, the more and more fans got up to give a standing ovation. As he finally reached the top step on the ladder, there was a mixture of cheers and breathlessness from the Bucks crowd.

After a spilt second pause on the very top step, Bango did a back flip flying directly over the rim and finishing off the stunt with a very impressive dunk on the other side of the rim on his way down. The stunt not only kept the crowd on it’s feet as the Bucks came out of the longer than normal TV timeout but it also more than made up for Bango’s embarrassing injury last season during NBA All Star Weekend in Phoenix.

Last season, Bango tore his ACL as he accidentally slipped standing on top of the back of the rim while his fellow NBA Mascots shot half court shots. Falling through the rim, Bango’s left leg got tangled up in the net causing the tear in his knee. For the rest of the Bucks 2008-2009 regular season, the Bucks decided against finding a “replacement’ Bango, instead almost comically played around with the injury. After all, it made perfect sense.

Last year Bango was added to the Bucks list of key injuries

Bango was added to all-too-famous Bucks Injury Report along with the best two Bucks players: Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut. While Redd and Bogut remained on the bench cheering on the team in suits, the Bucks mascot rolled around the arena in a wheelchair cheering the team on as well. Last year the Bucks’ team chemistry was nearly flawless in that regard.

Now let’s flashback to Game 4’s incredible dunk, unfortunately not all that much has changed as far these three Bucks figures are concerned. Michael Redd is still out, Andrew Bogut out yet again taking a gruesome fall late into the season after a very impressive all around year, and Bango…well he’s back fully healthy performing more tricks above the rim…isn’t he? Doesn’t this dunk say it all and is proof that Bango’s performance has improved just as much as this year’s playoff clinching Bucks team? Not so fast Bucks fans, I think we’ve all could have been misled.

While I’m sure it happens more often than we all would imagine, there’s a strong possibility that Bango was replaced with a stunt man for the job. The stunt man quite possibly could be the NBA mascot without a job, the Seattle Supersonics’ mascot named Sasquatch. Whether or not it was actually Sasquatch can be left up for debate, but one thing’s for certain if the NBA was a university, Bango would be expelled for plagiarism.

The set up, the dunk, and even the after dunk celebration with an array of back handsprings and cartwheels was almost the exact same. So similar, it has to make you wonder whether or not it really was Milwaukee own’s Bango that had lived up to his own team’s motto “Work Hard, Play Hard.” Did Bango put in the time and effort practicing this very risky stunt or did Bango and the Bucks simply pick up the telephone?

I’ll leave it open for you to decide. Watch the videos and let us know what you think!

Bogut’s Injury: Avoidable?

Early this morning the Milwaukee Bucks were struck with the worst news possible, star center Andrew Bogut was going to be out for the rest of the year. Bogut’s nasty fall in the second quarter of last night’s matchup against the Phoenix Suns has to rival Shaun Livingston’s injury a few years ago. For those that may argue that no NBA fall can be compared to Livingston’s, Bogut’s fall led to a dislocated shoulder, a sprained wrist, and a broken hand.

While at the game as the Bradley Center crowd never returned to the same energy level after witnessing the injury and my mind focused on Bogut rather than the final outcome of the game, I could not help but think of the very similar situations that occurred earlier this season involving Bogut.

Minnesota Timberwolves @ Milwaukee Bucks on January 23rd, 2010

(NBA.com Video not enabling me to embed it into the post)

Bogut properly and safely finished a fast break, up ahead alley oop pass from Jennings. Bucks fans should be very familiar with this play as it’s a definite Top 10 Team Play of the Year, as it started with Bogut blocking a Ryan Hollins dunk attempt, then Bogut retrieving his own shot block and whipping it behind his back to the outlet man in Brandon Jennings, Bogut continued to run the floor hard and capped it off with an alley oop dunk. (I strongly recommend going to take a look at this highlight, it really would help clear up any confusion you may have.)

Portland Trailblazers @ Milwaukee Bucks on December 12th, 2009

Bogut finishing a up ahead pass while swinging off the rim

Then, of course last night’s injury

Maybe it’s just me, but both of these instances show Bogut looking to be slightly and awkwardly unbalanced in both of these occurrences. I don’t want to harp on the obvious that Bogut slipped off the rim, I’d offer my recommendation to any players with the size and statue of Bogut to finish these plays off with a “flush” dunk instead of a hanging on the rim. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what is to have come known as a “flush dunk”, it’s when the dunker gracefully throws the ball down the hoop barely touching the rim. The flush dunk is Carmelo Anthony’s signature dunk attempt. (example of a flush)Whenever you’re that big and running full speed, even if you’re as coordinated as Bogut, soaring through the air to finish off a dunk and then deciding to hang and swing off is putting yourself at great risk. Now granted, Bogut may have felt as though Amare was walking under him at that time causing him to attempt to hang, I’m pretty sure it’s just become a bad habit.

The NBA’s most popular big man dunker, Dwight Howard does a great job displaying the safest way to cap off dunks as he avoids hanging on the rim more times than not. One of the few times you’ll ever see Dwight hang and swing two handed is when he’s in the post with the ability to finish a dunk on a simple drop step or pivot, exemplifying a Shaq-like motion.

My post isn’t intended to be “smart” or “cheesy” as I’m devastated having to Bogut’s season end like this, it’s merely my thoughts on the situation and my hope that this type of situation can be an avoidable one in the future.