“It’s like us,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said of the winged beast, according to the Associated Press. “It used to be extinct and now it’s coming back.”
Without getting into whether that’s biologically true (and whether it’s good P.R. to compare your team to a super old-looking protected species), we can probably all agree that this is a bad mascot.
I’m a huge fan of mascots that show regional pride. Heck, the Clippers were named after the clipper ships that sailed along the San Diego Bay, where the team was located from 1978 until 1984. That’s pretty cool! I understand that the Clippers wanted an update without changing the team name — one that, like Rivers said, embodies the team while celebrates its location in the Entertainment Capital of the World.
However, as a native Southern Californian, I can think of at least four better ideas for mascots that show the same regional pride.
1. The Flyin’ Ballmers
The AP reported the Staples Center crowd wasn’t really diggin’ the new mascot until Clippers owner and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer christened him by dunking off a trampoline. How could they not? Even without the assist, Ballmer’s got hops.
I will buy tickets to any event featuring an animated multimillionaire throwin’ down two-handed slams. Plus, the word “ball” is in his name.
2. A Person Stuck In Traffic On Their Way To A Clippers Game
Nothing is more uniquely Southern Californian than complaining about traffic while secretly enjoying it. It’s a shared experience. It’s always topical. It was the premise for an entire “Saturday Night Live” sketch.
3. A Bowl Of Guacamole
Automatic 100 percent approval rating.
It doesn’t have to be anthropomorphised or shoot free T-shirts out of a cannon, either — just a single bowl of fresh, lemon-sprinkled guacamole they can cut to between TV timeouts. We’ve seen how basketball fans react to free food. The crowd will go wild.
4. The Lakers Bros
Stay with me here.
I know these two guys are rooting for a rival team that plays in the same building, but they truly encapsulate everything about the greater Los Angeles area, and most of the people I went to high school with (myself included). It’s also important to remember that all Clippers fans started as Lakers fans.
When all is said and done, I suppose Chuck the Condor isn’t perfect, but at least the mascot represents something to root for. The Lakers, Warriors and Knicks are the three remaining NBA without a mascot, and they’re running out of options. Let’s hope they weren’t hoping for a giant, caped, dabbing bird.