First Person Singular: Washington Wizards mascots G-Wiz and G-Man (a.k.a. Aidan Charlery)
I was trying out for a gig in the circus, but that fell through. At the time, I did gymnastics with a company called KiDsGyM USA. We did exhibitions and had caught the attention of the people putting together the circus. They said, "Hey, can you guys dunk a basketball off the trampoline?" I'd never done it before but wanted to try. And that dunking actually led to the G-Wiz position.
G-Wiz is the main mascot, your funny, comedic-type character. And G-Man is like the alter ego, more your high-energy acrobatic dunking-type character who only comes out in the fourth quarter. You know: pump-up time. Other teams have two guys, but I do both [characters]. Initially, G-Man was more my speed, because I'd been an acrobatic performer. But the past season or so, I don't know, with G-Wiz I can really speak vicariously for the crowd. It's a side of myself that I don't usually get a chance to portray. I'm just a quiet guy that sits in my cube.
At first, I wasn't that good. Just little simple things like the costume sits on top of your head, so to make G-Wiz look straight, you have to actually look down. But I was looking straight, so G-Wiz was looking up at the ceiling. And just comedic timing, you know; it's a thin line between what's funny and appropriate - and what's aggravating. Sometimes on the court doing a skit, I'm like, What am I doing out here? I just want to pack up and retreat, but you got to finish it. There was this one particular incident - it's very, very terrible - I was actually doing a G-Man skit, a sumo wrestling basketball competition. The main purpose is for G-Man to be the protector of the goal, so I'm tackling these guys in sumo suits, and basically they're just rolling over. But this one guy, they didn't put on his helmet correctly, and when I went and tackled the guy, his helmet came off before his head hit the ground. The crowd was like, Ohhhhhh. And that's never good, when you hear that.
I don't like looking bad. Because even though the fans don't know who you are, the people you walk by [here] in the [Wizards] office, they know who you are. So if you don't want people whispering, Man, that guy sucks, you need to make sure you get it together. And I've gotten better. I mean, now I think I'm one of the more polished mascots in the league. I always tell myself before I step on the court: You work hard, so let's show 'em what you've done. No one else was here with me 'til 12 o'clock at night practicing, so it's not time to go out there and lay an egg; it's time to go out there and put on a good show.
-- Interview by KK Ottesen