Players React To New Mascot, Ballmer’s Dunk
LOS ANGELES – Fans at STAPLES Center Monday night witnessed much more than a basketball game.
Owner Steve Ballmer introduced the Clippers’ new mascot, Chuck the Condor, at halftime, then announced everyone in the arena would receive a free pair of Chuck Taylors and proceeded to dunk off a trampoline.
“I caught the end of the replay,” said Chris Paul. “I didn’t know he worked on it. When I heard he did it, I didn’t believe it. I want to see how many other owners in the league could do that. Put them out there on All-Star Saturday night. Get the ratings up.”
Head coach Doc Rivers heard what Ballmer would be doing and knew he was working on the dunk at the practice facility. Rivers said he was worried at first, but Ballmer demonstrated he was up to the task.
“He’s a brilliant guy,” Rivers said of the Clippers’ energetic 59-year-old owner. “When he told me he was doing it, I had to question him for one second. But it went off well. I’m glad he did it.”
In case that wasn't enough, all of that preceded a fan hitting a half-court shot to win a 2016 Jeep Renegade on a wild night of entertainment at STAPLES Center, with the Clippers taking on the Nets.
Immediately after the win, Jamal Crawford said he hadn't seen Ballmer's dunk yet but planned on getting on YouTube following his postgame press conference. J.J. Redick said he knew something was up when he came out to the hallway at halftime and heard a commotion in the film room.
“Ballmer was high-fiving people,” Redick said. “It seemed abnormally loud for a halftime. I came on the court and everybody was on their feet. I thought Vanilla Ice had done another halftime show or something. But no, it was Ballmer dunking. I saw the replay. It was pretty good.”
Chuck The Condor Introduced
As Ballmer introduced “the newest Clipper,” Chuck the Condor came down from the rafters of STAPLES Center for the first time as the Clippers’ new mascot.
“I didn’t see it today, but I’ve seen it already,” Rivers said. “It’s like us. It used to be extinct, and now it’s coming back. It’s just like us. It represents us very well. I think it’s good. A lot of teams have mascots, why not us?”
Rivers said he’s looking forward to bringing on a mascot, something he knows about from his days with the Celtics.
“Hopefully it does well,” Rivers said. “I had a mascot in Boston, and Lucky was pretty good. I hope it brings the same type of luck.”
Chris Paul said bringing on a mascot will be great for the fans, and Jamal Crawford agreed.
“With Chuck, I think that’s a needed addition,” Crawford said. “It can get the kids involved, it can get the fans involved. Any advantage you can have at your home arena, that’s what it’s for. I think that’ll be really cool. I know my son will love it.”