Former NBA champion suspects Phoenix Suns gorilla mascot depicts racism covertly: “Gorillas in the desert, you can't find any”

Sacramento Kings v Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns' gorilla mascot in action

NBA mascots have become nearly as famous as some of the teams they represent. From behind-the-back half-court shots to trampoline acrobatics, mascots have been tasked with entertaining huge crowds of people in unique ways. In addition to providing entertainment during half-time and timeouts, mascots like Benny the Bull have become staples in their community.

Despite every team having a mascot, there's one that stands out to former NBA champion Lamar Odom, the Phoenix Suns' mascot, Go Gorilla. The high-flying acrobatic mascot can frequently be seen doing insane aerial stunts while jumping off a trampoline. Despite the fact that he's been one of the most beloved mascots in the league, Odom thinks Go Gorilla represents racism.

He spoke about what he believes is a hidden meaning in the mascot, whether fans realize it or not, on the "Bootleg Kev Podcast." The way he sees things, there's no reason for a city like Phoenix to have a mascot like a gorilla.

"I feel bad for the Suns fans, because they ain't gonna never get what probably which y'all probably deserve, probably to change the mascot."

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When asked point blank if he felt like the mascot had some racial connotations, Odom replied:

"Come on, bro, and then the thing that's funny is, like, they kind of, like, slid that one by for all these years. Nobody, like, says anything about that. Well, OK, gorillas in the desert, you can't find any. You can probably find a cactus."

How did the Phoenix Suns get their mascot?

Boston Celtics vs. Phoenix Suns
Boston Celtics vs. Phoenix Suns

As it turns out, the Phoenix Suns didn't have a mascot throughout the first 11 years of the franchise's history. In 1980, that changed when a fan who came to their home arena dressed as a gorilla was invited to entertain fans during breaks. After some time of putting on the schtick, the Gorilla was named the team's official mascot.

The original mascot held the position for nearly a decade before being replaced by someone who carried the torch for nearly 20 years. After that, the Suns found another performer to don the Go Gorilla suit for several years before settling on the current performer prior to the 2012-13 season.

According to the Suns franchise, the current Go Gorilla performer is considered to be one of the best performers in the world.

Although fans were quick to point out the origins of Go Gorilla to Odom, he has yet to respond. Given how long the mascot has been attached to the Suns franchise, it doesn't seem as though he's going anywhere any time soon.

Based on fan ratings, Go Gorilla is ranked as one of the worst NBA mascots in the league. With Rocky the Mountain Lion for the Denver Nuggets taking first, the Dallas Mavericks' Mavs Man was overwhelmingly rated as the worst mascot in the league.

Below you can see a video of a breakdown of some of the best NBA mascot funny moments.


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