Though some may find them annoying, there's no denying that mascots are just plain awesome. Whether they're firing up the fans, wreaking havoc in the stands or just flat-out being silly, these characters represent their teams well and are beloved by many.
In the NBA, some of the mascots range from being unbelievably awesome to odd to just plain stupid. One of my personal favorites is Go the Gorilla (pictured), who has been entertaining Phoenix Suns fans for years.
That being said, let's take a look at all 30 NBA mascots, ranking them from worst to first.
OK, so the Los Angeles Clippers don't have an actual mascot. Yet, they seem to have a devoted celebrity fan in Frankie Muniz, so that should count.
Thinking about it now, why don't the Clippers just make Muniz the regular mascot? He hasn't been relevant since Malcolm in the Middle got canceled, in 2006. Plus, isn't he weird-looking enough that he could pass for a more conventional mascot?
I look at G-Wiz and don't know whether to burst out laughing or be extremely frightened. This monstrosity of a mascot looks like Cookie Monster had a violent sneeze that caused him to land face first in a pond, where an exotic fish got stuck to his face, and the toxins of said fish then gave him the idea to don a Wizards jersey and ride around the Verizon Center on a bike.
I've heard of goofy mascots, but this makes the Philly Phanatic look like the president of MENSA. It's just horrible. Even though the Wizards have lots of young talent that will surely bring multiple trips to the playoffs one day, I doubt the opposition will be intimidated with a mascot as goofy as G-Wiz.
Um...seriously, Orlando? You already have the best center in the league in Dwight Howard, and you still associate this idiotic "dragon" with your team?
Simply put, Stuff the Magic Dragon should only be stuffed one place: in the garbage. Like G-Wiz, this is a mascot that looks like a rejected Muppet. Also, pink wings and starry antennae? Management dropped the ball on this one, and badly.
OK, seriously, it's not funny anymore. What is it with certain NBA franchises and having mascots that look like Muppets??? I love those guys as much as the next, but why use them to represent a basketball team, particularly one as talented as the Miami Heat?
This is where Burnie comes in, and I really don't know where to begin on him. He looks like the result of Beaker having a child with one of the Honkers, with a little bit of this guy thrown in just for kicks. I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but shouldn't a team with three of the best players in the league have a more intimidating mascot?
I'll admit the idea of a hip-hop themed rabbit is cool, but it just doesn't seem right when it comes to the Sixers' mascot, Hip Hop. His entertainment value may be up there, but it just doesn't impress me.
Plus, didn't we already satisfy the rabbits-playing-basketball fad by spending millions of dollars on Space Jam?
I understand the significance of the coyote in terms of Texan culture, but this just doesn't work as the Spurs mascot. The friendly face is inviting but when push comes to shove, it just looks like a cuddlier version of Wile E. Coyote.
Also, what does a coyote have to do with spurs? Why not have a mean-looking cowboy or a stallion? As fun as the San Antonio Coyote may be for the kids, he isn't an elite mascot by any means.
Crunch the Wolf isn't the worst mascot by any means, but he still isn't much to look at. Couldn't the Minnesota Timberwolves could have gone for something a bit more creative than what they have now?
To be perfectly frank, Crunch just doesn't look like a wolf to me. When I look at him, I'm reminded more of the Siberian Husky some friends of my parents used to have. Crunch should be more intimidating and less cute and cuddly.
Still, there's no denying that he knows how to entertain.
On looks alone, Slamson the Lion is just atrocious. He looks like some Muppet lion combined with Chewbacca. Yet, there's just something endearing about him.
Maybe it's the fact that a lion, the king of the jungle, is fitting as Sacramento's mascot or maybe it's this routine that just happens to be drop-dead hysterical. No matter how you look at it, Slamson just works.
Clutch the Bear is a cute mascot. Yet, that is both his blessing and his curse. Given how he plays in Texas, you'd think that he would look a bit scarier.
On top of that, what does a bear have to do with the name "Rockets"? Why not have some astronaut dude or something like that? You know, something more intimidating!
Still, I'll be the first to admit that without Clutch, fans may never have fully appreciated one of the most epic moments in NBA history.
Besides his name, there isn't much going on for Sly the Silver Fox. He's obviously just a marketing ploy to sell tickets for the Nets and having been to a Nets game in the past year, it just doesn't work.
Still, he unleashes some crazy dunks during halftime and that face he always has on is just...well...cool! Hopefully, he will remain with the team as they complete the move to Brooklyn.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are another case where the mascots make zero sense, but there's just something endearing about them. Moondog looks like any other cartoon dog, but he just has that natural charisma. Sir CC looks like Dudley Do-Right's long lost brother, but with a worse uniform.
Still, like I said, I just find something endearing about these two. Maybe it's Moondog's goofy smile or Sir CC's comically obnoxious hat. Either way, as mindless as they are, these two mascots just have that special something.
Hooper is a goofy-looking horse. I'm talking Disney horse mixed with a Pokemon goofy. Still, that's where the comedy in him comes from.
He was introduced in 1996 and has been part of the team ever since. As crazy as he looks, he should still get some props for representing the Flight Crew dunking team, which performs during timeouts and halftimes of Pistons games. Considering the team's luck as of late, Hooper is quite possibly the lone positive aspect associated with the franchise.
Hugo the Hornet looks like something that should have been part of a kids' show in the 1990s. This look is so dated that it's starting to get kind of ridiculous. Yet, therein lies the beauty of the New Orleans mascot.
Hugo's look is just one that screams classic, from the Henson-designed face to the goofy colors. Part of me really hopes that the Hornets find a buyer, because Hugo is just too lovable a mascot to be taken away from the fans.
Sure, Blaze the Trail Cat looks like a rejected Looney Tune, but there's just something cool about him. He isn't like the other animal mascots who just wear their team's uniform, but with their name on the back. No, Blaze instead opts for the track suit and headband, looking badass.
Also, the fact that he's a flashy dunker and has ears that look like flames help his cause as well.
Boomer may look ridiculous, but that's what makes him awesome. Unlike other weird-looking mascots that just look like a mish mosh of ideas, it's clear what the idea with Boomer was: an awesome dunking cat.
On top of that, Boomer kind of looks intimidating with those bug-eyes of his. If I were on a team playing Indiana, my ADD-riddled mind would surely be distracted by this kooky mascot.
Seeing as how Denver is a city in the mountains, it's only fitting that the Nuggets have a mountain lion named Rocky as their mascot. This guy is just plain awesome. He fires the fans up and is just lovable.
Also, how can you hate a mascot that rides around the court on a motorcycle?
In all honesty, how can you say anything bad about Grizz? He is the epitome of a bear: large, furry and just plain cuddly. Just looking at that picture, I want to give the guy a hug.
On top of that, he perfectly represents the threatening nature of the grizzly with those warm yet sinister eyes.
OK, so maybe Rumble looks like the result of a night of passion that occurred between a yak and Gizmo. Still, there's just something cute about him. Maybe it's those eyes underneath all that hair.
Either way, no matter how you look at it, Rumble is a great mascot. The Thunder are a team just a few years away from a championship and what better figure to fire the fans up than a dunking bison? It just works!
A dunking gorilla??? Yes, please!
I'm already not much of a bird guy, and Harry the Hawk is a perfect example why. That intimidating red and black plumage, those crazy eyes, just looking at him gives me the creeps!
Still, given the Atlanta Hawks, Harry is the perfect mascot. The team he represents is all about toughness and playing hard-nosed ball, and for that you need a mascot that strikes fear into the hearts of some people.
No matter how old I get, I'm always going to think that dinosaurs are cool. The Raptor is no exception, as he maintains a lovable nature of badassedness about him even though his team may not be the best.
Just look at that face. There's something about it that's just lovable, but also intimidating. It's almost as if the Raptor is saying, "I may look happy now, but disrespect my team and I'll use these sharp teeth of mine...on YOU!"
A few years back, the Golden State Warriors had an awesome mascot known as Thunder. He and his dancing extravaganzas were let go in 2008, leaving the team without a mascot. That being said, representing the boys from Nor-Cal is their super hot celebrity fan, Jessica Alba!
Apparently a good friend of former Warriors guard Baron Davis, Alba has been seen at multiple Warriors games. Given how bad this team has been as of late, Alba's possible presence at their games is probably the one reason I would even watch them.
Only one word can be used to describe Rufus Lynx: cool. Nothing says badass like a bobcat wearing shades and dancing around the court. I can only hope that the Bobcats stay in Charlotte and don't contract because to be honest, to lose a mascot as great as Rufus would be a shame.
On top of that, his on-court antics sometimes border on the area of "too-much." Yet, we still love him.
Nothing represents a team full of crazy dudes like the Dallas Mavericks better than a blue horse with the crazy-eyes like Champ. This beloved horse and his toothy smile do a great job of firing up the fans, and he took it to a whole new level last year as the Mavs went all the way to an NBA championship.
More importantly, a mascot that takes hits like this is definitely deserving of the name "Champ."
Now that Lucky the Leprechaun is gone, the Boston Celtics are without a mascot. Still, with devoted fans like Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg, why would they need one?
These guys represent Boston to the Nth degree, with Wahlberg's constant South Boston accent and Matt Damon's devoted fandom. They may be spotted at the Staples Center more often than they are at TD Garden, but that doesn't take away from the fact that Damon and Wahlberg bleed green and white.
Who knows? Maybe they'll make a Boston Celtics movie together in the future.
When it comes to devotion to one's team, nobody holds a candle to the Jazz Bear. This guy harasses opposing fans (as evidenced in the video to the left) and just doesn't care. He's all about the Jazz and their fans.
Also, just watch his reaction to the fan charging him. He makes it look like just another day at the office!
In that outfit, Spike Lee is mascot-ish enough for the mascot-less New York Knicks. The famed film director is at every home game and sometimes follows them on the road. On top of that, he briefly joined the broadcast team last year.
More importantly, Spike Lee is a perfect mascot for the Knicks in the fact that somewhere down the road, he'll almost definitely make a movie about the team. Seeing as how I could be the world's biggest Knicks fan after Spike, I'll definitely be first in line for it.
If you watched basketball at all during the 1990s, then you definitely saw your fair share of Benny the Bull. When Michael Jordan was doing work on the hardwood, Benny was there cheering him on and firing the fans up.
The crazy part is that even though Jordan hasn't played in Chicago for over a decade, Benny still remains iconic. Both Bulls fans and non-Bulls fans recognize him simply because he was so popular during the Bulls' glory days.
Now that the Bulls are entering a new era, Benny and his dunking ability are about to receive a whole new generation of fans.
Just how the Knicks have Spike Lee, the Los Angeles Lakers have Jack Nicholson. Seriously, you can't get more badass than this guy. Look up the term in the dictionary, and you'll almost definitely see his picture.
More importantly, Nicholson has been a Lakers season ticket holder since 1970 and has been seen courtside at almost every home game for the past 25 years. He loves this team so much and hates to miss a home game even more, so much that whenever he is shooting a movie, his filming schedule is rumored to be tailored around the team's home schedule.
Normally, I'd find a cartoony deer for a mascot childish and goofy. Yet, when it comes to Bango, I'm going to make an exception. He's got skills that would make broadcaster Mike Breen unleash his signature, "BANG!"
Click the video and watch Bango as the anticipation mounts.