Bear: On January 24, 2004, Karl Malone returned to Utah for the first time as a Laker. During a timeout, Jazz mascot Bear answered a fake call that was broadcast over the loudspeakers. The caller imitated Malone's voice, identifying himself as "Mail" and saying he wanted to come home because L.A. fans were mean to him and the Lakers don't pass him the ball. The call ended with the imitator saying, "I guess it could be worse. I could be Ko..." stopping short of saying Kobe. This happened during Kobegate, of course, and some people felt it was in poor taste to mock a man who was suspected of rape. Malone, who would later be threatened by Kobe for supposedly hitting on his wife, was one of that "some." Said the Mailman: "After 18 years, for them to stoop to that kind of level, that's no class. And that's something I'll never forget." The Jazz issued an apology for the incident, but Malone wasn't having it. "It's not sincere. The guy who was involved, who they put the blame on, apologized and I accept his because he's sincere. Other people there, no. I forgive, don't get me wrong, but I don't accept it because it's not real." The league fined the Jazz $15,000, and although the team had approved the skit, they still forced the man who plays Bear to pay half of the fine himself.
Benny the Bull: On July 2, 2006, Benny (portrayed by Barry Anderson) was arrested by an off-duty police officer while performing at the Taste of Chicago. Dressed in full mascot regalia, Anderson zoomed his miniature motorcycle through the festival -- be prepared to gasp -- without the required permit. (The city of Chicago takes its miniature motorcycling very seriously.) When the officer, who was providing security at the event, identified himself as a Po-Po and ordered Anderson to stop, Anderson beat a very brave retreat. The officer pursued on foot and (amazingly) caught up to Anderson, who punched him in the face, knocking off the officer's glasses and breaking his watch. (Apparently he was wearing the watch on his face.) According to Anderson, he was just acting "in character." (Because, as everyone knows, Benny the Bull is a notorious cop-puncher.) Anderson was charged with two offenses: Misdemeanor battery and driving within the parkway. Those charges were later dropped.
Benny the Bull (again): On February 12, 2008, Benny slapped palm with the wrong oral surgeon. Dr. Don Kalant, who must be made out of stained glass and peanut brittle, suffered a hyperextended arm and a ruptured bicep muscle when Benny high-fived him during a Bulls home game against the New Orleans Hornets. Kalant bravely stayed for the rest of the game but later had surgery and had to miss about four months of work. Naturally, Kalant sued the Bulls -- who as Benny's employer are legally responsible for his actions -- and is seeking unspecified damages for medical bills, physical pain and lost earnings. The lawsuit claims that Benny was negligent in either "falling forward while grabbing a fan's hand" or "running out of control" through the crowd. And I think you'll agree that out-of-control crowd running is a menace that must be stopped. After all, our country's greatest oral surgeons are in grave danger.
Benny the Bull (yet again): In March of this year, the mascot got into a fight on The Jerry Springer Show. No, really.
Benny the Bull (oh dear lord): On April 1, 2008, Benny sniped Kevin Garnett and James Posey from behind with a t-shirt cannon during the closing minutes of the Celtics/Bulls game. According to the Boston Herald report: "Garnett initially had to be restrained by a member of the officiating crew as Benny stood a safe distance away." Huh. What happens when a mascot pees themselves in terror? I guess we'd have to ask Benny that question. Kudos to Posey for finding some humor in the situation. "I don’t know. I feel threatened. I don’t feel safe. They really have tough love here, but it was definitely an inside job. They made the mascot do it. I got hit in the back walking away. That spot on my back is sore. I might have to get treatment on it." Of course, I'm only assuming he's kidding.
Boomer: On March 11, 2005, the Pacers' mascot tackled Nathaniel Jackson -- who had recently had back surgery -- after a freethrow shooting contest. When a Pacers' employee rushed up and told Boomer about Jackson's back condition, the mascot responded by kicking at Jackson's legs. Naturally, Jackson sued Boomer for compensation for his medical bills, lost income, pain, suffering and "permanent injuries." (For the record, being a Pacers fan is a "permanent injury.")
Burnie: Back in October of 1994, during an exhibition game in Puerto Rico, Burnie pulled Yvonne Gil Bonar de Rebollo onto the court by her legs. Unfortunately for the mascot, Gil Bonar de Rebollo was the wife of a local Supreme Court justice...and she wasn't amused. Burnie was charged with aggravated assault and battery, faced 20 years in jail, and was sued for [insert Dr. Evil laugh here] one meeeellion dollars for emotional distress. The Heat tried to settle out of court for $100,000 but Gil Bonar de Rebollo refused. She was eventually awarded $50,000 (despite repeated appeals). The lesson: Only drag a woman around by her legs if she's a gymnast or a prostitute.
Burnie (again): During Game 5 of the 1997 first-round NBA playoff series between the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic, NBA Hall of Famer Dolph Schayes -- who was about to turn 69 -- got steamed when Burnie blasted him (and the rest of the Orlando Magic's cheering section) with a water gun. Schayes then proceeded to knock the mascot the hell out with a right hook. Which you have to admit is pretty awesome.
Da Bull: Chester Brewer portrayed Da Bull -- who was billed as Benny the Bull's slam-dunking cousin -- for nine years before his arrest on January 20, 2004. Brewer was busted trying to sell wacky weed out of the trunk of his car: The arresting officers found six ounces of marijuana (with a street value of $1,000) on Brewer and a scale in his trunk. Brewer, who wasn't dressed as a bull at the time of his arrest, was charged with possession of cannabis with intent to deliver and/or get veeeeeery high.
Da Bull (a different one): This Da Bull -- the mascot for the Austin Toros -- ran onto the court and hung from the rim with 0.4 seconds left to celebrate a breakaway dunk that gave the Toros a four-point lead over the Colorado 14ers. While hanging from the rim, Da Bull bumped into a Colorado player. (Oh, the humanity!) The Toros were assessed a technical foul for that case of illegal mascot rim-hanging. The 14ers hit the freethrow to pull within three points and narrowly missed sending the game into overtime when their last-second three was off the mark. The Toros suspended Da Bull for two games and assigned him to 50 hours of community service for putting their victory in jeopardy.
HOOPS (or Steve Javie, depending on your point of view): This is from Basketbawful reader 80s NBA: "I remember watching a game in the early 90's when Steve Javie ejected "Hoops", the Washington Bullets mascot. The reason was that Hoops was 'making gestures to incite the Capital Centre crowd against the refs' after Javie ejected Pervis (Never Nervous But Mostly Out Of Service) Ellison from the game for throwing the ball at the other ref." Yup. Good old Steve Javie. I'd like to make some inciting gestures (and flatulence) in his general direction.
Rocky the Mountain Lion: Back in April of 1995, Rocky challenged Charles Barkley to a friendly boxing match. And it didn't end well...for Rocky.
Rocky the Mountain Lion(again): On November 1, 2002, Ken Solomon -- who portrayed the Denver Nuggets mascot -- was arrested for first-degree trespass and harassment resulting in domestic violence. Sheriff's deputies said Solomon arrived unexpectedly at the doctor's office and asked to be present while the doctor saw his children. He and the doctor argued, and Solomon's former wife left with the children. Solomon then followed them to their home and entered the garage before his ex-wife could close the door. I'm not sure how that consitutes "domestic violence," but then I flunked Frivolous Arrest Charges 101 in college.