The NBA is just as much about theatrics as it is about athleticism. Half time shows are typically long, extravagant, and over the top with high flying acrobats, 30-person dance troupes and trampoline dunking entertainers, but the most notable sideshow at NBA games are the mascots. Every team has a mascot, and each one of them is different in their own way.
What makes NBA mascots different from ones in other major sports is the interactivity that these costumed entertainers provide with the fans. You could be sitting in your chair enjoying a game when a seven foot “Benny the Bull” sneaks up behind you and dumps a bucket of confetti all over your lap. Or if you’re wearing an opposing team’s jersey, Houston Rocket’s mascot Clutch the Bear might slam a pie right in your face.
Although it’s all fun and games, there comes a point where NBA teams cross the line from entertaining, to downright horrifying. Over the past few seasons teams have introduced obscure and creepy mascots and it’s causing a stir. Some are old and some are new, but there is a dark side to NBA mascots and the repulsive attributes given to some of them is truly what nightmares are made of. Here are 10 of the creepiest mascots the NBA has ever seen.
10. Hip Hop – Philadelphia 76ers
More Donnie Darko than Bugs Bunny, Hip Hop the rabbit boasts a creepy smile while hiding behind huge shades (although it’s probably to our benefit that we don’t see his eyes.) Hip Hop would often be seen dunking off of a trampoline over innocent fans or wreaking havoc with his sidekick “Lil Hip Hop.” Making things more cringe-worthy, the Sixers decided to put a red du-rag on his head to match his sun glasses in an attempt to make a “cool” mascot, but all it did was make Hip Hop look like a new step-dad trying to seem hip to his son in law.
Luckily, Hip Hop was discontinued after the NBA Lockout in 2010 via a unanimous vote between the new ownership. Unfortunately they replaced him with Franklin the Dog-thing, which is almost as horrifying as Hip Hop. When will you ever learn, Sixers?
9. Burnie – Miami Heat
What in the world is this? Wikipedia describes Burnie as an anthropomorphic fireball, but to me it looks like an abomination. A complete figment of someone’s wacky imagination, Burnie is an orange-furred, feathery, oddly shaped being who seems to be more of a nuisance than an entertainer. I suppose it’s tough to assign a mascot to a team that is not named after an animal, but this is no excuse for the monstrosity that was created for the Miami Heat.
Burnie’s large basketball nose (thankfully) hides most of his hideous face, but at certain angles it just looks like a giant green butt. His portly, wide-bodied figure is the complete opposite of the athletes he represents. I know it’s not supposed to make sense, but why does he have feathers for hair?! As long as the Miami Heat chooses to keep this thing as their mascot, I will not be going to any of their games as I would like to keep that monster out of my dreams.
8. The Coyote – San Antonio Spurs
Whatever you do, don’t look into his eyes. This potentially drugged-up coyote looks like the product of a very bad trip. At first glance this mascot does not seem too threatening, but his sporadic movements and piercing green eyes sends chills down your spine. As is the case with most evil manifestations, The Coyote has never been given a formal name, even though he has been the Spurs mascot since 1983—that’s 33 years of relentless horrors.
This ‘Coyote on Peyote’ was (somehow) inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame in 2007, an honor that no one knew existed until they read this article. The Coyote makes over 400 community appearances every year, which is more than any other NBA mascot. Why in the world would the San Antonio Spurs put their people through this kind of pain and suffering? Let’s all hope that The Coyote can get over his addiction and out of our nightmares.
7. Sir Slam-A-Lot – Detroit Pistons
No, he isn’t the mascot for all S&M/Bondage enthusiasts, or the rejected sixth Power Ranger, he’s Sir Slam-A-Lot, the Detroit Pistons mascot until 1996 when the Pistons came to their senses and replaced him with a horse. More of a rejected superhero than a mascot, the Sir Slam-A-Lot era was short-lived and he was pretty much neglected by the Pistons community as little to no information about him can be found on the internet.
Sir Slam-A-Lot is not the most terrifying figure when it comes to mascots, but his elusiveness and tight spandex makes him a true oddity, and his resemblance to a tight black leather fetish exhibitionist is kind of disgusting. There are a lot of young children at NBA games, and they don’t need to be traumatized up by an American Horror Story character.
6. The Brooklyn Knight – Brooklyn Nets
Sticking with the rejected Power Ranger theme, The Brooklyn Knight is somewhat of a Sir Slam-A-Lot revival, but with more black tights. At least Sir Slam-A-Lot had the decency to wear shorts over his spandex. The Brooklyn Knight and his crotch bulge came on to the scene in 2012 when the New Jersey Nets moved to Brooklyn and his tenure ended only two years later in 2014 when he decided he had haunted enough dreams.
Made out of pure evil, the Brooklyn Knight was an attempt to bring excitement to the team’s new location, but instead it made children cry for two years. The fact that the Brooklyn Knight carried a giant shirt cannon didn’t help his cause, and what’s more puzzling is that Brooklyn has nothing to do with knights, so why do this to your fans? Since the departure of the Knight the Brooklyn Nets have yet to assign a mascot for their team, and perhaps they should just keep it that way.
5. G. Wiz – Washington Wizards
G. Wiz is right… What in the world is this thing? Like the Miami Heat’s ‘Burnie’ mascot, G. Wiz is an oddly shaped monstrosity that must have come from some costume designer’s bad trip. Wiz is not of this earth, sporting blue fur, a floppy wizard hat nose, springs with stars at the end of them, and pink fur surrounding his eye.Wiz could be considered ‘cute’ by some, but if this thing ever appeared in my dreams I think I would be traumatized for life. To further disgust you, G. Wiz put on a skimpy outfit and tried out for the Wizards cheerleading squad. Luckily for us, he did not make the cheer team, but unfortunately he still makes appearances at Wizards games. How can the President of the United States let this abomination perform in the state capital?
4. Chuck the Condor – L.A. Clippers
The newest of the creepy mascots, Chuck the Condor was debuted in late February of 2016, and hopefully for our sake, does not make it through next season. Chuck the Condor is a hideous pink bird who wears a helmet, knee pads and elbow pads… You know, equipment that has nothing to do with basketball. Also, Condors are scavengers that rip apart dead animals in the desert, nothing about this thing is appropriate.
The Clippers unveiled a new logo and new uniforms this offseason, and the general public agrees that they are an eye-sore. The teams biggest star, Blake Griffin broke his hand while repeatedly punching the team’s equipment manager, and then they unveil this ugly mascot. If the Clippers want to get out from behind the shadow of their Los Angeles counterpart, the Lakers, they need to start making better decisions.
3. Squatch – Seattle Supersonics
Ok, I don’t hate Squatch, I actually think he is one of the best mascots to ever appear in not only the NBA, but all major sports. The reason he is on this list is because of extremely scary face and costume. The SuperSonics were moved to Oklahoma City in 2008, and with it went their high flying hairy mascot. The thing with Squatch is that he actually terrifying and actually kind of looks realistic, making him even more horrifying.
Based off of the classic North West legend Big Foot, Squatch’s costume is so good that if I saw him in the woods I would be certain that it were the real thing. Not only was Squatch scary, he was also a great stunt man, once attempting to break the world record for a rollerblade jump of 30 feet (unfortunately he fell short of the record.) There are always rumors floating around about a SuperSonics comeback, and if they do, let’s hope they bring Squatch back to keep the kids in Seattle frightened every time they try to enjoy a basketball game.
2. Pierre the Pelican – New Orleans Pelicans
This is awful for so many reasons. A pelican is probably the least imposing animal in the wild, especially considering all of the gators, crocs and snakes that live in Louisiana. Pierre’s beak is terrifyingly large, big enough to eat a small child, and I wouldn’t put it past him. The color they chose for him is similar to vomit, and his Mohawk makes him even more hideous. When Pierre was first introduced the New Orleans fans were disgusted, as they should be, so the Pelicans did the right thing and changed their mascot. Unfortunately they changed it to a different, equally disgusting pelican named Pierre.
Nothing about this monster is entertaining, and it was reported that children were ACTUALLY scared of him at games. How would you feel if you were seated, enjoying a basketball game in the Bayou when this monstrosity sneaks up behind you? I would probably sue the arena for irreversible mental damage. Pierre the Pelican is still wreaking havoc in New Orleans, scaring kids and making fans sick.
1. King Cake Baby – New Orleans Pelicans
Run. Run away as fast as you can and don’t look back. This is truly what nightmares are made of. King Cake Baby is yet another mascot conjured up by the jerks at the New Orleans Pelicans arena. His head is large, his eyes are wide, he looks sick. King Cake Baby is the most frightening mascot in not only the NBA but in all sports. What’s creepier than a giant smiling baby? Disproportional and ugly, this baby deserves to be discontinued and the costume should be burned to a crisp.
King Cake Baby does not appear at every game (thankfully,) but when he does, he scares everyone. It’s no secret that this mascot is disgusting, as a matter of fact the Pelicans have been known to send the baby out in the streets to scare unsuspecting citizens are grocery stores and other public places. Please, for the sake of the children, burn King Cake Baby and any evidence of his existence, for the good of humanity.