Growing up with a height that the doctors scientifically labeled “freakish and abnormal,” I was strong-armed into playing basketball. Being far from athletically gifted (or even marginally coordinated), my career wasn’t exactly replete with highlights. Yet even though my playing years have come and gone, and because the low self-esteem I suffered from due to being a perennial benchwarmer has been “cured” by my witchdoctor/therapist, my love for the game has not diminished.
That said, my appreciation of the intricacies of the game is highly intellectual and informed by years of experience. So, naturally, I judge and root for NBA teams based on mascots. There are, unfortunately, more teams worthy of derision than fandom. Some of the worst:
Toronto Raptors: While the seven year old in me loves the dinosaur reference, the cynical malcontent in me knows that raptors were actually undersized creatures coated in feathers. Not only does this render the mascot scientifically inaccurate, it simultaneously reminds me of all the now-tarnished memories/beliefs from my youth.
Los Angeles Lakers: The only “lakes” in Los Angeles are those comprised of either hooker blood or the tears of unpaid interns.
Oklahoma City Thunder: “Hey people of Oklahoma, you know that loud natural phenomenon that serves as a harbinger for the unholy destruction of a tornado? Yeah, we’re going to name the team after that.” If you want to offend people, you may as well go all the way and call yourselves the Oklahoma City Dust Bowls.
Utah Jazz: They don’t even allow jazz music in Utah. Also, points are lost for not making on on-court mascot that racist car from Transformers.
Philadelphia 76ers: Personally, I’d prefer it if we spelled colour with a “u” and used “bloody” as an expletive. 1776 will always represent the year those hopes were dashed. Now all we’ve got is Simon Cowell, so did the Revolution really succeed?
Portland Trail Blazers: Considering Lewis and Clark ended their expedition in Portland, I’d argue very little trail was “blazed” there in relation to, say, the Midwest. They should be called the “Portland End of the Trail,” which, if you threw a colon in there, could also serve as the title of a documentary about where hipsterism goes to die.
Chicago Bulls: Considering there are likely as many male bovine as male walruses within the city limits of Chicago, I see no reason why the mascot can’t be a lovable walrus.
Washington Wizards: To downplay any potential association with gun violence, the old team name of “Bullets” was changed in 1997. Of course, media relations could have spun “Bullets” as a reference to bullet points on Congressional bills, but obviously going with mythical sorcerers was the more logical choice.
Cleveland Cavaliers: What, was “Effete Cavalrymen” already taken?
Detroit Pistons: I want the numbers on how many Detroit players drive American-made cars. If it’s not 100%, the offending players should be traded and/or put down.