We interrupt the NFL’s playoff push to bring you some extremely important and urgent information. The Philadelphia 76ers want your help in choosing their new team mascot. Will you answer the call? … Because you shouldn’t. The options are underwhelming.
I’ll admit, after the organization lowered the axe on its Donnie Darko-esque gangster rabbit, Hip Hop, last month, I was pretty stoked. Hip Hop was never appealing, never made sense, and always made me ask myself, “wait, have I been drugged?” The rabbit had run its course. It was time for the unpleasant creature and its enlarged muscles to be released back into nature or walked out back for the Old Yeller treatment.
While the team mascot doesn’t impact the product on the court, the removal of Hip Hop was a positive move for the franchise and its new ownership. Their initiative to remove the old and start afresh is commendable. After all, the Sixers have had a stigma of losing and incompetence for the better part of the past quarter century. Though I hoped the organization would go mascot-less, I, at the very least, expected a more sensible mascot that would tie in with the franchise and not make fans feel like they were in the bunny ghetto.
So he were are. Hip Hop is dead and the Sixers traded him for three sillier, equally head-scratching characters. None of whom make any sense. Take a look at the options yourself. A fat white dude. A dog. And a moose. Only the fat white dude is native to the city of Philadelphia.
Let’s start with him, the fat white dude, that is. Sure, Benjamin Franklin is an important historical figure to the city of Philadelphia. But let’s look at this from another perspective. The NBA is a league made up of mostly African American players. Its fan base is also heavily African American. The Sixers are on the verge of dumping a doo-rag-wearing rabbit for a fat, white politician. Maybe it’s just me, but the new mascot ploy seems aimed at making the Sixers more attractive to white folks. Sure, Hip Hop’s time had come and gone, but replacing him with Benjamin Franklin comes with a hidden agenda. I could be way off base with that assertion, but considering NBA Commissioner David Stern has done everything in his power to make the NBA less “ghetto,” I think it’s worth mentioning.
As for the dog and the moose? Why a dog and a moose? What ties does either animal have to the city of Brotherly Love? Am I’m missing something? If I were in charge and the Sixers told me there must be a mascot, I’d create something completely original, something that embodies the city of Philadelphia. Why not make the mascot a swamp rat covered in trash, harmful chemicals and dead bodies, and name him “Schuylkill”? Or, if the Sixers really wanted a fascinating character to dance around, wave his arms in the air, and tell the crowd to get excited without actually doing anything to help the team, well, then they should have given the job to DeSean Jackson. (ZING!)
And for the record, I don’t like any of the three options, but if I must choose, I’d go with the dog. Benjamin Franklin never played basketball. Air Bud did.
Thursday Night Pick
Browns at Steelers
Two years ago the Steelers were riding a four game losing streak and watching their playoff hopes circle the drain. A Thursday night matchup with the lowly Browns was supposed to turn the tide and put Pittsburgh back on track. Instead, the Browns bullied the Steelers for only their second win of the 2009 season behind Brady Quinn’s 90 passing yards. (Yes, that’s a true Story.) Do I expect a similar outcome tonight? Of course not. The game is in Pittsburgh, Quinn is holding Tim Tebow’s playbook in Denver, and the Steelers are fighting for home field advantage this time around. If you’re searching for a reason to tune in, I don’t have one. Sorry. STEELERS If I were Charles Barkley; Browns +14