Let’s talk mascots. Sports teams have been relying on them since the early 1900’s to engage and excite spectators, but some do so much more than that. From the hideously horrifying, the just-plain-strange and even the admittedly attractive, allow me to break down my list of the Top 10 Most Memorable Mascots for you starting with the one I’d least like to run into in a dark alley.
1. King Cake Baby - New Orleans Pelicans
I don’t know who the marketing genius was that dreamed up this walking horror movie of a mascot, but in 2014 a terrifying 10-foot-tall baby was introduced to New Orleans and is resurrected around Mardi Gras every year in a creepy effort to pump up Pelicans fans. If you have yet to see this oversized infant from hell, google “King Cake Baby mascot” and don’t sleep for a week.
2. Pierre the Pelican - New Orleans Pelicans
Let’s stay in New Orleans... In 2013 the newly renamed Pelicans aptly unveiled Pierre the very day before Halloween. They selected the darkest corridor of the arena to photograph him with what looked to be a crappy camera phone, judging by the quality. I’ve never seen a pelican with a blood red beak before but it added to the horror of the big, murder clown bird they called a mascot. Needless to say the feedback was far from positive and they were able to make the necessary corrections to his whole entire face.
3. WuShock - Wichita State
Wichita State sports teams are known as The Shockers... and are represented by a Frankenstein, muscle-bound bundle of wheat called WuShock. Somewhere between Gary Busey and Bart Simpson, he has wispy wheat-colored hair, a creepy crooked smile and he’d love to smell your pillow. Is he laughing? Is he angry? No one knows, but he did win Best Mascot in America on collegecourtreport.com in 2017… in case that makes his hate-smiling somewhat more appealing.
4. Friar Dom - Providence College
In 2002 Providence College made the unpopular decision to replace their beloved bloodline of live Dalmatians with Friar Dom. He has the smooth, pale skin of a baby and the same amount of teeth and a bowl cut partially covered by the traditional cowl of the devout Dominican Brothers. He looks like Emperor Palpatine in his prime and appears to be much more interested in stealing souls than saving them. His gaping mouth makes him seem like he’s constantly in mourning and those cold, cavernous eyes, windows into his shattered soul. The institution proudly calls him the “True Face” of Providence College... yikes.
5. People Dressed As Trees - Stanford University
Stanford has a solid football program but, surprisingly, no official mascot, so students and spectators have strangely adopted people wearing home-made tree costumes as unofficial icons. With various patterned fabrics used for foliage and exaggerated human facial features, the majority of them look like poorly constructed quilts crossed with Mister Potato Heads.
6. The Coyote - San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonia Spurs are represented by what appears to be a chronically sleep-deprived and overly-caffeinated Coyote. From his demonic Donny Darko rabbit eyes down, the mascot looks completely normal, but his maniacal, green-eyed gaze introduces another level of crazy to this list. When this Coyote tells you to scream, you scream.
7. Hip Hop - Philadelphia 76ers
I wouldn’t be a Philly fan without criticizing one or two of my own hometown mascots. The Sixers used to be represented by a big, buff bunny with silver fur and sunglasses. This doo rag-wearing rabbit would entertain fans with mid-air splits, scissor kicks and slam dunks. I never hated Hip Hop, but I think I can speak for everyone when I say we are extremely fond of the more recent mascot, Franklin the Dog.
8. Gritty - Philadelphia Flyers
Last season the Philadelphia Flyers introduced their first mascot ever, Gritty. They presented him at a museum in front of 600 unsuspecting elementary school students. The children gasped in horror as he turned around revealing an unruly orange beard and frightening, unfixed eyes. The designers were given limited guidance when asked to create a mascot that “you’d want to high-five but not hug” and they nailed it. Although we've all grown to love Gritty, we're still unsure as to whether or not he would have actually eaten those children.
9. Purdue Pete - Purdue University
Purdue Pete is one of the more off-putting mascots in my personal opinion. I’d like to imagine that he means well, but this no-neck, mallet-weilding monster is what nightmares are made of. At least WuShock shows some sort of emotion, whatever it may be, but this... this is the face of a man who goes to horrifying lengths to feel emotions. His empty, unblinking eyes slowly scanning the stadium in search of his next victim...
10. Cosmo the Cougar - Brigham Young University
Aaaand Most Attractive Mascot goes to.... Cosmo the Cougar. This internet sensation dances with the BYU Cougarettes and something about the way he moves makes him unquestionably cool and fine I'll say it... somewhat sexy.