“Berserker died after one season,” said Brett Yamaguchi, the Warriors’ director of game operations.
Fuller felt obliged to help sell people on the team, he said, because the Warriors were not — how to put this mildly? — setting the region ablaze. He recalled running into the lobby of a bank near the team’s offices — in full costume, no less. That alone was a startling sight, and then Fuller opened his mouth and said, “This is a stickup!”
In hindsight, Fuller said, it was not the most judicious way to build a connection with the community.
“I was overzealous when I first got the job,” he said.
Nobody making a deposit that day recognized Thunder as an N.B.A. mascot. Most were under the impression that a less-than-sane person in a superhero outfit was attempting to rob the bank until Fuller backflipped out of the lobby while shouting, “Go Warriors!”
When Fuller returned to the team’s headquarters, he was met by several members of the team’s front office. They had received word of his marketing ploy.
“They were like, ‘Listen, it’s great that you’re doing everything with so much enthusiasm, but you can’t run into banks,’ ” Fuller said. “I was young. I didn’t get it.”
Thunder was often responsible for the game’s few highlights. He was like an action figure come to life. While the Warriors occupied themselves by bricking jump shots, Thunder spent timeouts soaring for dunks. The aesthetics of the costume itself were a stark departure from industry standards, and fans were receptive.
“He was sleek and muscular,” Yamaguchi said. “Up to that point, most teams had these mascots that were fluffy and huggable and kind of clumsy.”