Even people who aren’t exactly crazy about basketball (are there really people in the world who don’t love the game?) are crazy about the funny team companions. They dance. They shoot hoops. They interact with the crowd, make fans laugh and ham it up for photographers. And no, we are not talking about the referees! We’re talking about a basketball team’s beloved mascot.
We can trace the word to hundreds of years ago when it was used as French slang to describe a lucky charm for a gambler. When George Preston Marshall took on the Boston Braves franchise in 1932, he made the mascot a part of the sports world when he added a funny character to game day.
Some mascots are downright silly, such as G-Wiz, the Cookie Monster look-alike for the Washington Wizards. Another silly looking character would be Stuff the Magic Dragon, mascot for Orlando Magic. He greets the crowd wearing huge pink wings and floppy antennas on his head. Then there’s Burnie, the giant, furry orange thing with a basketball as a nose. You can’t miss him- you’ll see him at every game for Miami Heat.
When you attend a San Antonio Spurs game, you’ll likely meet up with Coyote, the guy with huge, bug eyes and fat cheeks. But boy, he can dribble fast!
Blaze the Trail Cat, a high-energy mascot for Portland’s Trail Blazers, is unlike all other mascots since he wears a track suit instead of the team uniform. He also sports a cool headband.
Rocky the Mountain Lion, rides around on a mini motorcycle to cheer for the Denver Nuggets. Jazz Bear, of the Utah Jazz, has made a name for himself as being the bear who razzes the fans from the opposing team.
They are fun and energetic. Some of them are impressively athletic too, rushing across the court in fuzzy costumes and still managing to hit those dunk shots. (Opinions differ at the Basketball Goal Store about whether they practice drills with the team or shoot hoops at home with a Goalrilla Goal Basketball system.) Mascots are as important to the game as the referees and their whistles. Through the years they have brought personality to the teams and dedication for the fans.
Who knows? Many mascots might be just like the origin of the word- good luck charms!
-Pat of the Basketball Goal Store Blog Team