What could be a more important topic than whether to fire Nate, which point guard to play, which free agent to acquire, who to draft if Ricky Rubio somehow is not available, if KP should have pulled the trigger (and where he should have aimed), and Oden vs. Durant? That's right: Mascots.
We recently had a lot of discussions about Blaze. I'm questioning a bit if most people really dislike our mascot that much. And even if they do, if the reason is rather that they are bored since the guy (or girl?) in the costume is not quite as athletic to pull off as spectacular stunts as some other NBA mascots. Or maybe the people designing Blaze's skits are also not that creative so it gets repetitive?
To get a better feel for where we stand in the "mascot ranking", I would like you to look at the mascots of all NBA teams, and then decide who has the worst one. I would ask for best and worst, but well polling on SBN... The d-league also has some good ones, but those are not listed. Some reasons in the comments why you think this or that one is good or bad would be nice (look, name, style, fit, ...). Also, if you can say what exactly you don't like about Blaze feel free to do so. There might be better ones imaginable (or even available with Squatch), but I think we could have done far worse :)
Below are some key facts about all mascots in the NBA - as far as I was able to research them without going crazy - and my personal verdict.
Atlanta Hawks: Harry the Hawk and Skyhawk (to the left). In existence since: 1985. Verdict: Simple but fitting. I like that he wears a full jersey and that they didn't overdo the feathers. I don't really see the need for "Skyhawk".
Boston Celtics: Lucky the Leprechaun. In existence since: ? Verdict: Uhm, since it's a real person in a costume anyway and apparently recently they parted ways with the guy playing Lucky, maybe upgrade to Scalabrine or KG?
Charlotte Bobcats: Rufus Lynx. In existence since: 2003. Verdict: Pretty ugly, too much bulk for a lynx, but fitting to the team name.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Moondog. In existence since: 2003? Verdict: Uhm, a dog, really? Why? They claim a connection to Cleveland as the Rock-n-Roll city in his bio, but that is pretty far out. Why not some historic costume Musketeer-style?
Dallas Mavericks: Everything must be bigger and better in Dallas, so they also have two co-mascots: Champ and the Mavs Man. In existence since: Unknown. Verdict: I like the Mavs, but a blue comic horse with boots and a kinda scary looking body builder with basketball skin?
Denver Nuggets: Rocky the Mountain Lion. In existence since: 1990. Verdict: Looks pretty good, fits the franchise (would be even better if they were named something like the Bobcats), and wears something like a race car driver suit for a nice change.
Detroit Pistons: Hooper. In existence since: 1996. Verdict: Well, not very original. But it's a good fit to the franchise, and Hooper is well-done and looks friendly.
Golden State Warriors: Name: Thunder. In existence since: 1997. Verdict: Move over OKC. This is the real Thunder. He is even part of Golden State's logo.
Houston Rockets: Clutch "The Rockets Bear". In existence since: Ca. 1996. Verdict: Lets see, our nickname is the Rockets and we take a bear. Fail.
Indiana Pacers: Boomer and Bowser. In existence since: 1991 (Boomer the cat) and 2001 (Bowser the dog). Verdict: Another team that feels the need to have two mascots. Not very original or fitting to the franchise although the color scheme is okay. The cat looks strange, the dog crazy, and I fear both scare kids.
LA Clippers: Out of competition. They sell bears wearing a Clippers jersey, but I was unable to identify anything official. If that's true, it would be fitting for a lame franchise. Bill Simmons, get to work and create something for the team where you have season tickets.
LA Lakers: Disqualified. Jack Nicholson is semi-official I guess. In existence since: 1937. Verdict: Get a real and official mascot, then we talk.
Memphis Grizzlies: Grizz. In existence since: 1995. Verdict: Kinda cool looking bear with grey-blue hair. And the only team in the league that should have one. Would be much more fitting if the team had remained in Vancouver, since Memphis has a better chance to see the return of Elvis than a real Grizzly in the wild.
Miami Heat: Burnie. In existence since: ? Verdict: Um, was that a spare costume by the Muppet company? An early trial and error for Big Bird? And how much did the Heat pay for that mascot draft pick?
Minnesota Timberwolves: Crunch (middle). In existence since: 1989. Verdict: Looks friendly, but two words of advice: Wear shorts.
New Jersey Nets: Sly the Silver Fox. In existence since: 1997. Verdict: Mediocre execution of the costume. And a silver fox? Why?
New Orleans Hornets: Hugo. In existence since: 1988. Verdict: They updated the logo to make it look nice and agressive, unfortunately not the comic mascot.
New York Knicks: Name unknown. Unofficial: Spike Lee. Verdict: Some mix between a bear and the statue of liberty? Weird.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Rumble the Bison. In existence since: 2009. Verdict: I like it. They should have named the whole franchise the Bison. Rest in peace Squatch.
Orlando Magic: Stuff the Magic D ragon. In existence since: ? Verdict: Likely the weirdest mascot in the NBA. But fun and original. And according to his bio, he likes both Travis and Bo Outlaw, which should give him some bonus.
Philadelphia 76ers: Hip Hop. In existence since: ? Verdict: The head is a bit too small for the body. But at least a rabbit is creative, and it has a streetball appeal.
Phoenix Suns: Gorilla. In existence since: 1980. Verdict: Weird, but a member of the Mascot Hall of Fame that just belongs to the Suns.
Portland Trail Blazers: Blaze the Trail Cat. In existence since: 2002. Verdict: Looks better than some other cats in the league. You be the judge if our "unique mountain lion sub-species" is fitting - or we just stole it from the Nuggets.
Sacramento Kings: Slamson. In existence since: 1988. Verdict: A lion as the king of the jungle/savanna is an okay fit. But the costume is just bad. Maybe they could now replace him with The Noc?
San Antonio Spurs: The Coyote. In existence since: At least 1993. Verdict: Original, but ugly. And again: Shorts please.
Toronto Raptors: The Raptor. In existence since: 1996? Verdict: For this team it could only be a raptor. Slight flaws, but cool overall.
Utah Jazz: Bear. In existence since: 1994. Verdict: Yay, another bear. Just what was needed. At least this one wears a complete outfit and is shaggy. Too bad Ivan Drago was not available.
Washington Wizards: G-Wiz and the G-Man. In existence since: 1997 (G-Wiz). Verdict: And to close things out, another franchise that feels the need for two mascots since both are not that good. The dunking G-Man could be the brother of the Mavs Man, while the G-Wiz is...um...somehow related to Stuff the Magic Dragon? Watch some more Disney movies and design a friendly Wizard.