The Most Famous and Bizarre Sports Mascots in the World: From the NFL to the NBA and Beyond

In the United States they are almost as famous as the athletes. The fans go crazy for them and they are often hated by their opponents. There are even more or less violent episodes in which they were involved. We’re talking about most famous and bizarre sports mascots in the world.

Picturesque puppets (often with the appearance of an animal) that wander around the sidelines, involving the public and creating folklore, within which there is a person, often well paid. In the NFL they also earn around 50 thousand dollars a year.

The history of sports mascots

Precisely in the American football league the first official appearance is dated 1984 and it’s Freddie Falcon, of Atlanta Falcon, while five years later in Kansas City here appears Kc Wolf who takes his name from the Wolpack, the Chiefs fans. Over time, then, almost all the teams have decided to “adopt” one.


But mascots are not an NFL prerogative. Even the baseball franchises are accompanied by a jumping, screaming and yelling puppet and in some cases it even goes so far as to provoke the athletes of the other team.

And in the Major League there are those who claim there was the first semblance of a mascot even if it wasn’t a person in costume. In fact, in 1908 the Chicago Cubs had a taxidermy animal as their lucky charm, which was then replaced in 1916 by a live animal even if for a short time.

To have the classic modern-day mascot, the Cubs waited until 2014 with Clark the Bear. But perhaps the most famous of all is Phillie Phanatic of the Philadelphia Phillies who made his appearance in 1978. Wanted by general manager Bill Giles, it is a little monster, hairy and plumpcreated by Bonnie Erickson and Wayde Harrison, two Muppet artists.

Its success was so sensational that some players became jealous. And still remaining in the world of baseball and irreverent mascots, the athlete Tommy Lasorda of the Los Angeles Dodgers once attempted to strangle and threatened to kill the San Diego Chicken because he had kicked the helmets of his teammates.

Mascots also in the NBA

Even the NBA teams, the stars and stripes basketball league, have their own lucky charm on the sidelines that makes children, especially children, go crazy with joy. Just think about Rocky the Mountain Lion dei Denver Nuggetsa true icon loved by all, to the point that whoever impersonates him pockets 625 thousand dollars a year (the average for his colleagues is around 65 thousand dollars).

But how can we not mention it Orlando’s Stuff the magic Dragon, Miami Heats’ Burnie, Mikwaukee Bucks’ Bango deer, Minnesota’s Crunch the Wolf (who is very reminiscent of Michale J Fox when he played a werewolf in “Wild Life”), The Coyote of the San Antonio Spurs and The Gorilla of the Phoenix Suns.

Mascots have also caught on in international competitions such as the Olympics, just think of theMischa Bear in Moscow 1980 until Bing in Beijing 2022. But they also make a good show at the World Cup. Above all, to stay in the competitions that we have triumphed, who does not remember Naranijto in Spagna 1982 and Goleo in Berlin 2006, passing through Ciao (let’s admit it among the least successful) of Italia 1990. Recently, during the Sanremo Festival, there were presented the stoats Tina and Milo, the mascots of the Cortina Winter Olympics which will be held in 2026, created by a school group from Tavernia, Calabria.

Do sports club mascots exist in Italy?

And speaking of Italy, what relationship do our societies have with these characters? Well, it’s not like they really broke through. Juventus has the zebra Jay, Milan has the little devil Milanello and Inter the snake Ambrogiopuppets that the fans are not so crazy about, to the point that they are often not even seen on the sidelines.


A little more original is Lazio who has a real eagle that they fly before the start of each match. By changing discipline, and moving on to basketball, Olimpia Milano has the Fiero the Warrior puppet who wanders around the parquet and stands dispensing “high fives”, Varese has Giangallo, Derthona has Leo and Venice also has a king of the forest, Leo Rey. But even in these cases the public struggles to identify them as favourites.

2024-02-29 07:04:53
#famous #bizarre #sports #mascots #world


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