The kids at Kissing Suzy Kolber were talking about mascot abuse yesterday … but like they say in Seinfeld, “not that there is anything wrong with that.”
Nobody over the age of six actually likes mascots — they’re just guys in suits that you simultaneously pity and hate while they shoot t-shirts in the stands and walk mockingly behind persons of authority. Sure, it’s probably tough to run and jump off trampolines while wearing the type of furry suit many fetish websites are built around. But watching a human dance around in an ever-smiling costume understandably made KSK ask, “which mascot would you most like to beat mercilessly until there was nothing but a broken heap of loose stuffing mingled with blood?”
Since KSK is an NFL-centric site, it isn’t surprising they chose Steely McBeam, the five-o’clock-shadowed, hard-hat wearing bundle of foam and cloth that apparently represents an unblinking Pittsburgh steelworker.
But it was somewhat shocking that in 282 responses to the “mascot you’d like to maim” query, nobody named the saddest, most pathetic looking mascot of them all.
I’m not talking about Lou Seal or Thunder. This is about Slamson.
As an NBA franchise the Sacramento Kings lost any relevance around the same time Doug and Jackie Christie started planning a reality show based on their relationship (which hopefully would have been called, “The 10-Day Contract”), it’s not surprising that Slamson doesn’t have the cache of say, the Phillie Phanatic or even the Stanford Tree.
But take one look at Slamson, and I guarantee you will be filled with a mixture of revulsion and confusion that could only be matched if your pet hamster left a dead mouse on your pillow.
It all starts with the face. Anybody who’s watched “The Soup” enough times has heard Joel McHale talk about how Kim Kardashian’s sisters are “dead behind the eyes.” So is Slamson. Along with his pale lion face, Slamson looks either dead or really ill, to the point where giving this ready-for-the-taxidermist lion a beating with a “30-inch section of lead pipe,” as KSK suggests, would do nothing worse than put Slamson out of his misery.
Slamson, whose scientific name is Felinus Entertanus Maximus (and yes, looking up Slamson’s info page on the Kings website was at the same time a low and high point of my career as the Bay Area Sports Guy), is apparently named after Sampson, since I can’t for the life of me figure out what else the marketing wizards who work for the Kings would be shooting for. So why does his mane look so stringy and disgusting? Hell, if Bret Michaels can find extensions that made him confident enough to take off his bandanna on television for 20 whole seconds this year, can’t Sacramento find some realistic mane hair for Slamson? Do we need to get Arnold Schwarzenegger on the case? How about F.P. Santangelo, he has a morning show in Sacramento, doesn’t he?
Slamson isn’t as famous as other mascots, and neither is he known for bothering anybody famous or even getting on television anywhere outside the greater Yolo County area. And I’ll be honest; I’ve never even seen Slamson in person, probably because I haven’t been to Arco Arena since Bobby Hurley was starting for the Kings.
But just check out Slamson’s photo portfolio. In the same way a team never has a chance of being successful with minor-league level announcers on television or on the radio, a mascot performing in a thrift store level costume (especially one that looks like it was made by the same people who brought us the eternally frightening “King” from recent Burger King ads), relegates that mascot’s franchise to “second-division” status, to use an old baseball term. The fact that Kings owners Joe and George Maloof have let this go on shows how they feel about Sacramento. You know when the Kings are finally allowed to move to Las Vegas in a few years Slamson will get replaced by one of Siegried and Roy’s real lions — or Celine Dion (actually, she would benefit from the Slamson costume).