Former 620WTMJ Bucks voice Doucette receives Hall of Fame induction this weekend
Photo: Eddie Doucette
MILWAUKEE - The original radio and television play-by-play voice of the Milwaukee Bucks says he's "thrilled beyond words" about being elected to receive the Curt Gowdy Award for media from the Basketball Hall of Fame.
"It's humbling," Eddie Doucette told Newsradio 620 WTMJ's Gene Mueller during "Wisconsin's Morning News" last March about the award which will be bestowed upon him in Springfield, Mass. this weekend.
Click here to listen to Doucette's chat with Mueller on "Wisconsin's Morning News."
"That day in September is going to be a big day."
Doucette called many big days for the Bucks on Newsradio 620 WTMJ, including the team's first game and the 1970-71 NBA Finals win over Baltimore - the franchise's only league title.
"We had a lot of fun back in those days."
Doucette called the exploits of stars like Lew Alcindor, who later gave himself the name Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
He named Abdul-Jabbar "The King," and coined the term for his signature shot, the "sky hook."
Doucette also added the phrase "Bango!" to the Bucks' fans' lexicon. It eventually became the name of the team's current mascot.
He chose to use a new phraseology as a way to bring some excitement for new basketball fans in the state.
"I figured the only way I would make this thing work was to create enough talk that people would want to see the team, and if they couldn't make it down, they'd want to listen to the games," said Doucette.
"I created my own lexicon of terminology and got the kids, young people that were yelling things like Bango and all the nicknames for the guys we had on the team. I got calls from schoolteachers and parents that said things like, 'I've gotta know what you're talking about, because I can't communicate with my kids! They're talking this crazy language.' That's when I came up with the Doucette Dictionary, a little paper thing. We built on that dictionary, and it caught on."
Click here to read one of the initial Doucette Dictionaries, as provided by Eddie's web site.
"(I decided) I'm going to do something a little different than what they've done, create some controversy and get some people riled up about this new team."
The new team also featured a new broadcaster, a Milwaukee radio DJ with an often-deferred dream of doing play-by-play.
"When the board of directors decided they wanted to go with a young guy in the market, as opposed from somebody outside of the city, I was already in the organization doing the PR, something I had never done before.
"I remember coming back to the office and having the then-president of the Bucks stick his finger in my chest and say 'Listen, kid. I don't know what you're going to do or how you're going to do it. We know high school and college basketball in Wisconsin. We know nothing about the pro's. I'm going to give you one year to figure out what to do, and if you can't figure it out in one year, you're gone."
He stayed. For 16 years.
It led to a play-by-play career that has lasted decades, one which has brought these Hall of Fame accolades.
"For me, it's really a validation that you get recognized by your peers. I never did this for financial reasons. That was never on my mind. I never thought there would be a Basketball Hall of Fame (for me) in the future."
"I always felt like if you get the respect of your peers, that's the thing you can take out of this life. I feel like that has happened."
He told Mueller that he could not have earned this honor had it not been for the faith Milwaukee and Wisconsin gave him.
"No one was really ready to give me an opportunity. I was a disc jockey. I was trying to figure out ways to get into my childhood dream. I owe it all to the Bucks and to the wonderful people of the state of Wisconsin."
He has paid back Wisconsin in droves, particularly children who faced the same challenge of cancer that his own son faced.
Doucette co-started the MACC Fund.
"I left Milwaukee and moved to the warmer climates of San Diego when my son was in the 5th year of his recovery from leukemia. In my time that I was there, I had that conversation with the doctors," said Doucette.
"The doctors at Children's Hospital said, 'We need help raising funds.' I got the idea of the charity, and then I talked to Jon McGlocklin. He said 'I'm going to be retiring and I want to help you with this.' That was the beginning.
"We have our own research center at the Medical College. We're on our way to $50 million. We have the clinic at the University of Wisconsin...out in the Dakotas and Minnesota that have young kids who are sick. We're serving about seven areas through the MACC Fund, the greatest legacy anybody could ever have."