Posts Tagged ‘Mascots’

Rajon Rondo debuts as TV analyst

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — As Celtics guard Rajon Rondo continues his comeback from last season’s knee injury, he still is building up his strength and endurance, so he still sits out the occasional second game of back-to-back games. Last night the Celtics had the second game of a back-to-back against Chicago. But instead of staying home, Rondo decided to try watching from the TV broadcast booth, as he spent the first half of the game working as a color analyst. (Benny the Bull was thrilled to see him.) Pretty cool to hear him explain plays and the thought behind the play design…


VIDEO: Rondo as analyst

(via SLAM)

Best of times, worst of times for mascots

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last week we noted the reported retirement of Bango the Buck as well as the return of The Raptor in Toronto. This week we check back in to find a mascot missing his eyes, as well as a mascot with a penchant for making amazing shots…

Let’s start in Denver, where Nuggets mascot Rocky shows off his ability to make all sorts of incredible trick shots…


VIDEO: Rocky scores

Meanwhile, down in San Antonio, Spurs mascot Coyote bounced off of Denver’s Aaron Brooks, and the collision caused his eyes to pop out. Which has to be a bummer.


VIDEO: Coyote loses eyes

(Rocky via TNLP)

The return of The Raptor

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — One of the most crucial NBA injuries to occur during the preseason happened to the Raptor, mascot for the Toronto Raptors, who suffered an Achilles injury. As we noted at the time, everyone in the organization took the news hard.

We last saw the Raptor a few months ago on the road to a return as he attacked rehab. But yesterday, the Raptor finally made his big return. As you can see in the video below, his rehab took him to the ends of the earth, but he managed to get it together in time to rejoin the Raptors for the stretch run.


VIDEO: The Raptor returns

Report: Milwaukee Bucks mascot Bango to retire

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com


VIDEO: Bango From 20 Feet

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Sad news out of Milwaukee, where the man who plays Bango, the always-entertaining mascot of the Bucks, will be retiring at the end of the season, reports the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Kevin Vanderkolk has worn Bango’s antlers for nearly 15 years, and has established Bango as one of the more athletic mascots in the NBA. He’s experienced lows, such as tearing his ACL at the 2009 All-Star Game, and highs, like the crazy backflip dunk off of a 20-foot-ladder in the video clip at the top of this post.

Vanderkolk did not comment on this report, but if the news is accurate, those of us who count ourselves mascot aficionados will be sad to see him go.

Someone who may not be as sad? Dwight Howard.

UPDATE: The Bucks posted a job opening for a full-time Mascot Coordinator/new Bango


VIDEO: Bango vs. Dwight


VIDEO: Bango’s Best

The house of Mutombo is still the house of Mutombo

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last night’s Clippers/Nuggets game was notable in that not only did Denver snap L.A.’s 11-game win streak, but it was also a throwback night in Denver. Both teams played in cool retro uniforms, as the Nuggets recognized the 20th anniversary of their 1994 team that upset the Seattle SuperSonics.

With several former Nuggets on hand, including Reggie Williams and LaPhonso Ellis, it only made sense for Denver mascot Rocky the Mountain Lion to bring out Dikembe Mutombo to help with a dunk attempt. What happened next was pure Mutombo


VIDEO: Mutombo/Rocky

Detroit Pistons Mascot Gets Sweet Revenge Against Joakim Noah

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — A few months back we caught up with Detroit Pistons mascot Hooper as he had a very bad weekend. After first having a run-in with Andray Blatche and the Nets, Robin Lopez and the Blazers also had their way with Hooper.

But last night, Hooper seemed to draw some measure of revenge against Bulls center Joakim Noah. During pregame warmups, Hooper got on Joakim’s level and challenged him to a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. This footage is a bit inconclusive, but it appears as though Hooper goes paper while Noah goes rock. Classic move by Hooper.

jo3

This had no long-lasting effects on Noah, apparently, who went out and turned in his second triple-double in his last three games. After the game, leaving the floor, he must have felt as if he’d conquered the Pistons.

But not if Hooper was going to have anything to do with it…

joakimhooper

It was all enough to lead Hooper to talk a little Twitter trash…

How Do You Spell Zydrunas Ilgauskas?

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — How do you spell Zydrunas Ilgauskas? OK, fine, I just spelled it for you, but I did without looking it up! I swear! See, part of writing about the NBA and sports is that before long you learn how to spell names that some might construe as challenging? So Ilgauskas? Got it. Krzyzewski? No sweat. Antetokuonmpo? Oh yeah. Then again, ask me to do long division and I’m useless.

Anyway, the Cavs are retiring Big Z’s number on March 8, so a wisecracking version of their mascot Moondog took to the streets of Cleveland to see if people could spell Zydrunas Ilgauskas.


VIDEO: Spelling Z

New Orleans Pelicans Mascot Gets New Look


VIDEO: Pierre’s Road To Recovery

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — When the New Orleans Hornets became the New Orleans Pelicans over the summer, they introduced a new mascot along with their name change. Pierre the Pelican was met with mixed reviews, mostly because his blood red beak was not perhaps as welcoming as it could be.

So it was either required or fortuitous when the Pelicans announced that Pierre had “injured” his face in a pick-up and had the necessary reconstructive surgery. The new-look Pierre was introduced yesterday, just in time for All-Star Weekend, with perhaps more a friendly visage…

Minnesota Timberwolves v New Orleans Pelicans

Orlando Magic Mascot Proposes To Kate Upton

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — For all the travails that accompany being a world-famous supermodel, I’m guessing fending off marriage proposals is just another part of the job. Particularly for a supermodel like Kate Upton, who has become perhaps the preeminent supermodel the last few years, and even more so when you’re out in public at, say, an NBA game, and there’s a mascot on the lookout for love.

Kate Upton took in an Orlando Magic game over the weekend. She was with her boyfriend, Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander, but when Verlander took a brief wander around the arena, that quick opening was apparently all Orlando mascot Stuff the Magic Dragon needed to make his move.

The ring appears to large enough to make Upton consider the proposal. And while Upton seems grateful, she conspicuously declines to answer Stuff’s question…

For his part, Verlander found out what happens when you leave your supermodel girlfriend alone for even a moment…

Stuff eventually attempted to apologize for breaking the bro code, though it appears Stuff was rebuffed by both Upton and Verlander…


VIDEO: Magic mascot Stuff proposes to supermodel Kate Upton

Toronto Raptor Attacks Rehab

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It’s been an up and down season thus far for the Toronto Raptors. After a slow start, they traded Rudy Gay, and of late have been playing pretty well, winning four of their last seven.

Of course, the entire season began on an ominous note when their beloved mascot, the Raptor, blew out his Achilles during an exhibition game. The good news, however, as we can see in the video below, is that the Raptor is back up and is attacking his rehab with the same zeal he uses to spray people with silly string. (New idea: Instead of “Celebrity Rehab,” how about “Mascot Rehab”?)


VIDEO: Raptor Rehab