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Sunday, December 21, 2014 | Last updated: 7:19pm


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Hoop, There It Is!

What's a Billiken?


By Pat Evans          Posted: 03/17/12 7:07pm         

In the NCAA Tournament Round of 32, the MSU men’s basketball team will take on the Saint Louis Billikens.

So with all the usage of the team’s mascot, some might wonder: What’s a Billiken?

Well, this is a Billiken.

Exactly what is that?

According the Saint Louis media guide, the Billiken is, “A symbol of good luck that was a national craze in the early 1900s.”

The figure was patented by art teacher Florence Pretz’s version of an ancient Asian figure. Soon after, the Billiken Co. of Chicago adopted the figure as a sort of mascot, hence the name.

Why is it St. Louis University’s nickname and mascot:

Back in the heyday of the term, sportswriters thought the football team’s coach, John Bender, looked like a Billiken.

Of course, a cartoon of a Bender Billiken soon surfaced and posted in a local store. Then, the football team was known as Bender’s Billikens.


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