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Utah Jazz vs Orlando Magic: Overtone - Mascot Deathmath!

I’m not exactly sure where I was going with this post, but it did lead to more than two hours spent looking up videos of mascots...

NBA: Houston Rockets at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Stuff the Magic Dragon was named the NBA’s Mascot of the Year last year. In that year, he’s done some pretty cool stuff, especially famously as assisting on Aaron Gordon’s dunk.

Stuff has been the Orlando Magic ’s mascot ever since their conception as a franchise in 1989. His common antics apparently include back-flipping off of really tall ladders, break dancing to song mashups, and messing around on trampolines, in addition your typical mascot stuff, like messing with the dancers, ushers, and fans alike. As a concept, Stuff makes sense: his name is a basketball pun on the famous Puff the Magic Dragon, his weird and wacky coloring is cheerful and memorable, and the party blowers that come out of his nose are a metaphor for the Magic’s offensive capabilities (as in, decidedly not fire).

So how does the Jazz Bear stack up? He’s been the Utah Jazz mascot since 1993, but has won the Mascot of the Year Award twice before, in 2006 and 2008. I personally remember this guy as one of the wackiest performers ever.

His big shtick for a while was the sled down the stairs, which eventually became the silly string. While the Jazz Bear as a concept (what bears play jazz, and how many bears are there in Utah anyway?) makes no sense, he really does inspire and represent the Utah Jazz fandom. That craziness is manifested in plenty of fan tribute videos like this one (warning: NSFW/strong lyrics):

Plus, he does this. There’s a real, live human in that suit.

So how much does this matter tonight? Well, it is a home game, meaning that Stuff will be in Orlando doing whatever mascots do in their free time. On the other hand, the Jazz Bear will be there to pump up the crowd at the Delta Center Energy Solutions Arena Aunt Viv as he has done for so many years, inspiring the next generation of Jazz fans.