Here Are Some Ideas For The New Clippers Mascot
In his first year as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Steve Ballmer has already overseen some huge changes for the franchise: from the roster and win-loss record (good) to uniforms and logo (bad). But now that the franchise has announced the creation of a Clippers mascot, the team has another opportunity to reinvent itself, and at the same time, separate from its local professional sports peers.Of the most prominent professional sports teams in Los Angeles, the Clippers are among four that are mascot-less—neither the Lakers, Dodgers, nor Angels have official mascots. To give you a sense of how rare this scenario is, the Angels and Dodgers make up two of just three Major League Baseball teams to go mascot-less (the other is the New York Yankees). And in the NBA, the Clippers and Lakers join the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks as the only teams in the league without mascots.
It appears that New Yorkers and Angelenos might actually have something in common here: both just aren't really feeling mascots. Maybe this is one thing that can contribute to a ceasefire in the N.Y.C. vs. L.A. War, for, as John F. Kennedy once said, "Our relative ambivalence towards mascots unites us far greater than trend pieces divide us."
The 'Rally Bear,' an unofficial mascot, entertains fans (including Dustin Hoffman) in a postseason game against the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Dustin Hoffman)
It's not as if Angelenos don't enjoy them when they show up unannounced. When the Rally Bear, an off-brand, rogue mascot, stormed the stands at Dodger Stadium in the 2013 postseason, people—including Dustin Hoffman—loved it. Bill Shaikin of the LA Times wrote about the Rally Bear's short stint at Dodger Stadium and polled readers to see who would like an official Dodger mascot, and it was extremely close: 50.2% were in favor, 49.8% opposed.
Maybe it's that Angelenos, living in the Cradle of Entertainment, have high standards for such pageantry, and simply would rather have nothing than put up with monstrosities like the "performance characters" the Dodgers introduced last year. But the Clippers are giving it a shot, and fortunately The Internet has been on the case for awhile.
From deep in the vortex of mid-aught NBA message boards to the sweet sincerity of Facebook groups, there's already a glut of suggestions out there—some as reissues of mascots past, and others completely new inventions. Here are the best ones:
Clipper mascot Sam Dunk dances up a storm during a break in the game action at the Sports Arena in 1986 (Photo by Javier Mendoza/Herald-Examiner Collection via the Los Angeles Public LIbrary Photo Collection)
Sam Dunk was the Clipper's mascot when the franchise was in San Diego Mr. Dunk has a cute old-timey maritime vibe that would fit right in during vintage jersey nights, but his resemblance to deposed Clipper owner Donald Sterling is utterly chilling. Pass.In an interesting twist to the legend of this original Mr. Dunk, the man behind the mascot in the photo was 22-year-old Mark Monninger. Thirty years later, Monninger would illegally don the infamous Rally Bear costume at Dodger Stadium mentioned above. Based on his performance on the Dodger Stadium visitor's dugout, he's still got it—maybe the Clippers would be open to giving Monninger his old job back.
Larry the LobCity Lobster
A "fictional character," according to his Facebook page (via Facebook)
Larry has taken charge of his own destiny, and is well on the way in his own campaign for mascothood; he already has a personal Facebook page and Twitter feed. According to his page, he's named after former NBA commissioner Larry O'Brien, and is “renowned for being the only lobster in LA famous for his amazing lobs and high flying dunks.” He enjoys dunking, “getting fans pumped up” and hates “melted butter, Red Lobster restaurants, and boiling pots of water.”Curiously, Larry seems to bear more than a mere passing resemblance to Crusher of the Maine Red Claws (an NBA D-League team). It raises our eyebrows just a bit.
While we might disagree with Larry regarding Red Lobster (the biscuits, tho), he's doing a good job staying on brand by leveraging the LobCity pun.
(Larry the LobCity Lobster could not be reached for comment at press time.)
A Clipper Ship But With Legs On It
This one has been kicked around a lot; the Clippers are named after ships known for their speed and sleek design. And while the image of an old timey ship doesn't really conjure up images of ferocity or toughness, these “Greyhounds of the Sea” could be an elegant and sophisticated mascot -but why not stick some legs on there? As dedicated fan who runs the Facebook group “Los Angeles Clippers to Get A Mascot." (sic) put it: "A ship with legs would be interesting." Well said.
A Toenail Clipper
Over at forums.lakersground.net, user "WutupLA" writes: "I remember playing this old nba basketball game on Nintendo and whenever the clippers mascot would come out...it was literally.....A toenail clipper."
Huh. Well, if the Clippers were to anthropomorphize an object with "Clipp" in its name, I'd prefer a toenail clipper to Clippy from Microsoft Word, a suggestion that has been made by literally thousands of hilarious, original Redditors. Keep yukkin' it up over there, guys!
Billy Crystal discusses his Clippers fandom with Larry King
The long-running retort from Lakers fans is that they won't need a mascot as long as they have Jack Nicholson. If that same logic were to be applied to the Clippers, they would be stuck with Billy Crystal, who is allegedly a long-time Clippers fan. But which version of Billy Crystal would you choose? Homophobic Billy Crystal, Blackface Billy Crystal, or Washed-Up Billy Crystal?
A Group of Teenage Boys Who Have Just Toilet Papered Someone's House
This one's the wild card, but hear me out. During the DeAndre Jordan affair this offseason—where DeAndre Jordan's teammates basically rubbed it in the face of the jilted potential suitor for Jordan's services (the Dallas Mavericks) before he re-signed with the Clips—my brother remarked that his teammates' behavior was akin to when "you've just toilet papered someone's house and their dad sees you, and comes after you while you're hiding out giggling back at your friends place." Imagine the fun that could be had by a trio of interns sprinting around the floor during halftime and timeouts, pulling pranks on celebrities in the stands, and shooting rolls of toilet paper using t-shirt cannons.
While officials for the Clippers say the mascot won't be unveiled until the All-Star Break, apparently they've already rejected "Seagull Knievel," so keep that in mind if you decide to petition the front office with your own suggestions.