We’ve got some sad news in the mascot world. Rob Wicall is retiring from his role as The Coyote after playing the San Antonio Spurs’ hilarious mascot for nearly 2 decades.
Mascots have long been a divisive topic in professional sports. To supporters, they’re a fun addition that brings energy and excitement to the game. To critics, they’re gimmicky symbols of commercialization.
I’ve always been a huge fan of mascots. The hijinks they perform are really funny, and they act as the unofficial liaison between the team and its younger fan base.
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The Coyote always cracks me up, especially when he takes off his eyes. He’s definitely one of the elite mascots in the NBA.
Since 2005, the NBA Mascot Conference has annually handed out an award for Mascot of the Year. The Coyote won it in 2014.
I’d rank him up there with Go the Gorilla of the Phoenix Suns, Rocky the Mountain Lion of the Denver Nuggets, Clutch the Bear of the Houston Rockets, Benny the Bull of the Chicago Bulls, Hugo of the Charlotte Hornets, and Jazz Bear of the Utah Jazz.
For those keeping track at home, the only 2-time winners of Mascot of the Year are Clutch Bear and Jazz Bear. Apparently the committee really likes bears.
All the mascots in the NBA are awesome, though. I like it when they all gather on the court together during All Star Weekend and just clown around with each other.
Currently the Brooklyn Nets, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, and New York Knicks don’t have a mascot. I’m thinking that there should be a free agent pool of mascots who can join another team when they get let go.
For example, the Oklahoma City Thunder chose to leave Squatch in Seattle when they moved the franchise. Squatch should be able to market his services to other teams. Lakers fans would get a kick out of Squatch dancing with Laker girls and talking with Jack Nicholson courtside at the Staples Center.
As if basketball couldn’t be fun enough, mascots end up making the game that much greater. Whether they’re posing for pictures with fans or dunking during commercial breaks, they’re a huge part of what makes rooting for a team so great. Thank you Mr. Wicall for all the positivity you brought to Spurs’ games.