It’s a basketball game: many pack the stands to watch their favorite teams run the court, dunk on opponents, and sink those three-point shots from afar. Crowds cheer; coaches yell.
Who else is there? Mascots.
The hype creatures on the court range from cute to creepy, comical to chaotic. As much a part of the team as any player, mascots can make or break the audience experience at a game.
We wanted to know who reigns supreme in the 2022 NBA season among mascots- and who basketball fans bet against.
To figure this out, we at NJ.Bet asked the experts: we surveyed over 900 NBA fans nationwide to hear their thoughts on the league mascots.
With each mascot achieving a possible score out of 5, the best mascot is Grizz of the Memphis Grizzlies! Seen leaping through a ring of fire at the FedExForum, this fur-covered bear that clearly works out has managed to dunk on the rest of his fellow mascots and come out as #1 with a score of 3.87.
Charging not far behind Grizz is Chicago’s own Benny the Bull at #2 with a score of 3.83. Bright red with big ups, Benny has been Chicago’s mascot since 1969, and his reign has been mighty.
Not far behind him is Cleveland’s Moondog at #3, Henry the Hawk of the Atlanta Hawks came in at #4, and Denver’s Rocky the Mountain Lion rounds out the top 5.
Which mascots are all air and no net?
NBA fans ranked Mavs Man of the Dallas Mavericks as the worst mascot with a score of 1.87. Despite receiving a recent rebrand in 2022, this robot-human-basketball hybrid is more the stuff of nightmares than an effective cheerleader for the team.
Other less-than-popular mascots rounding out the bottom five include Utah’s Jazz Bear, Lucky the Leprechaun from the Boston Celtics, Portland’s Blaze the Trail Cat, and The Raptor of Toronto.
Some mascots aim for humor; others aim for intimidation
For those taking a less scary approach, shamrock-bedazzled Lucky the Leprechaun of the Boston Celtics leads the pack of least intimidating mascots, followed by the positively cuddly Clutch the Bear, the stingless Hugo the Hornet, possible long-lost Muppet G-Wiz, and the newly made-over Mavs Man.
Of those looking to strike fear in their opponents, Grizz once again comes out on top, with his furry game face and strong presence on the court.
Not too far behind is Rumble the Bison from Oklahoma City, Phoenix’s own Go the Gorilla, Cleveland’s Sir CC, and, paradoxically, Mavs Man once again.
Sadly, it looks like less intimidation doesn’t work for NBA fans- Lucky the Leprechaun, Mavs Man, and G-Wiz are all in the top 5 mascots fans would eliminate from the NBA. Clearly, Mavs Man’s gamble to be both intimidating and not intimidating didn’t work out as planned.
When it comes down to it, mascots are an important part of the game. Just about 3 in 5 NBA fans like mascots, and 77% feel that mascots add to the experience of the game.
Who doesn’t love backflips, jokes, and more antics at an already exciting game?
Happily, 64% of fans also like their team’s mascot, and 63% believe every NBA team should have a mascot- looking at you, LA Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, Golden State Warriors, and NY Knicks!
Why do Americans like mascots? The top reasons include the sheer entertainment and hype they bring; just over half appreciate their appeal to children. Cuteness, nostalgia, and merchandise capability round out the rest.
There’s just something special about seeing a giant, furry creature dunk a ball or do a flip down the court, and fans are here for it.
In November 2022, we surveyed 902 self-reporting NBA fans to get their feedback on NBA mascots from the 2022-2023 season. Respondents were 50% female and 50% male, with an age range of 18 to 80 and an average age of 38 years old.
When using this data and research, please attribute by linking to this study and citing nj.bet
If you want to place bets on NBA games, we recommend these NBA sportsbooks: betMGM, BetRivers, bet365 NJ. They offer excellent betting app interface, good odds and sign up bonuses. View all apps here.
We are an informational portal about the best betting offers, NJ online casinos, gambling promotions and advice.