There are 28 mascots in the NBA, and today’s post pays tribute to some of the most entertaining and recognizable ones that fans know and love.

Only four NBA teams don’t have mascots -- the Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, and Golden State Warriors. The 26 other NBA teams all have mascots, and two of them -- the Dallas Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers – have more than one. The Mavs have both Mavs Man and Champ, while the Cavs have Moondog and Sir CC.

The lack of Knicks and Laker's mascots is a mystery, although some speculate that their team names don’t suggest appropriate mascots. However, the Oklahoma City Thunder also have a non-traditional name, and they still manage to dress up a bison in their team colors -- proving anything is possible when it comes to mascots.

Some NBA mascots have superb names, such as Slamson the Lion of the Sacramento Kings and Blaze the Trail Cat of the Portland Trail Blazers. Others on this list of great NBA mascots are notably more distinct, with Stuff the Magic Dragon as a prime example.

NBA mascot costumes have evolved over the years, becoming significantly more vibrant and far less creepy. Just take a look at Hip-Hop, the former Philadelphia 76ers mascot. That rabbit thing was nightmare fuel.

Among the 26 NBA basketball teams’ mascots, which deserves to be crowned the best? While some teams might not have recent NBA championship wins, claiming the top spot on this list of impressive NBA mascots is still a notable achievement. With no Golden State mascot and no Lakers representative either, which NBA franchise will claim this prestigious award?

Ranking the Top 10 Best NBA mascots of all time

  1. Rocky the Mountain Lion -- Denver Nuggets

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Rocky, the Denver Nuggets mascot, made his debut in December 1990. He is reportedly the highest-paid NBA mascot, earning a $625,000 salary. He is also considered one of the most popular NBA mascots.  

Rocky has had several memorable moments, including serenading a woman with teddy bears on Valentine’s Day, laying out a youth football player on the field, and climbing the inside of the stadium at the Pepsi Center.

  1. Stuff the Magic Dragon -- Orlando Magic

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Stuff the Magic Dragon was born from an egg on Church Street in 1989, as he was literally unveiled to fans via his “birth” out of the egg. He lives in “The Dragon's Lair” at the Orlando Magic’s Amway Center and is one of the most recognizable NBA mascots.

The Orlando Magic mascot is among the league’s most entertaining. He breakdances at center court whenever he gets the chance and flies through the arena on a bungee from time to time, too.

Stuff was the host of the annual “Celebrity Mascot Games”, played at the Amway Center each year. The Mascot Games were part of a non-profit organization’s work to support children through the “New Hope for Kids” initiative. The event was postponed during the COVID-19 pandemic and has since been retired. 

Stuff has had multiple moments of stardom, including an appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show” and an assist with Aaron Gordon during the NBA All-Star Weekend’s Slam Dunk Contest. 

  1. Crunch the Wolf -- Minnesota Timberwolves 

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Twitter: 5,538 followers
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Crunch the Wolf is supposedly named after Timberwolves sponsor Nestle’s chocolate candy bar, but other reports mention that the name is actually a tribute to the Minnesota North Stars, the former local NHL team that moved south to become the Dallas Stars.

Crunch was introduced as the team's mascot in 1992 and is more popular than any previous Timberwolves mascots, including Prowley the Wolf.

The T-Wolves mascot once made national news by dressing up as Santa Claus and handing a child a Sony PlayStation at center court. Realizing the kid had attended the game to root for the visiting Sacramento Kings, Crunch ripped the PlayStation away from him and ran off with it. Apparently, the boy did eventually receive it his console, but the look on his face as Crunch stole it from him was devastating.

  1. Grizz -- Memphis Grizzlies

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Twitter: 9,873 followers
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Grizz has been with the Grizzlies through some tough times. He was the mascot for the cash-strapped Vancouver Grizzlies team that had to leave Canada, move to Tennessee, and rebrand itself as the Memphis Grizzlies. He is among the best NBA mascots in the league and has the most heart-warming story of them all.

Not only has he been a loyal mascot for the franchise, but he’s also a cancer survivor and is now an advocate for supporting treatments and fundraising for children. The man inside the suit, Eric McMahon, fought and beat cancer back in 2008. Rather than replace him while he was going through treatments, the Grizzlies instead decided to support him in his fight against the disease.

McMahon has been back in the suit ever since his recovery from Hodgkin's lymphoma and is among the most popular mascots in the NBA. Grizzlies fans love Grizz, who has transformed himself from an overweight brown bear in Vancouver to a far more stylish and muscular gray bear in Memphis.

  1. Harry the Hawk -- Atlanta Hawks

Instagram: 15,600 followers
Twitter: 3,715 followers
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Harry the Hawk, the big dunking bird for the Atlanta Hawks, is another of the highest-paid NBA mascots.

Harry has one of the league’s most vibrant mascot costumes -- a big red bird with a bright yellow beak dressed in a Hawks uniform. He made his debut in 1986 as one of the NBA’s very first mascots and has been representing the Atlanta franchise ever since.

The Hawks also used to have Skyhawk, who was a bird-type-looking superhero that would perform emphatic dunks, but Harry is now the only mascot at Atlanta games. He’s a high-energy bird that brings the crowd into his performances, making him one of the most loved and respected mascots in the league.

  1. Rumble the Bison -- Houston Rockets 

Instagram: 15,300 followers
Twitter: 23,100 followers
Tiktok: N/A

Rumble debuted on Feb. 19, 2009, making him one of the youngest mascots on this list. He is an anthropomorphic bison who parades around the Paycom Center in full team uniform, entertaining fans and dunking from a trampoline with a move known as the “Bison Dunk”.

His name, Rumble, comes from the sound that thunder makes, and the Bison represents one of the native animals of the American West.

In 2009, during his first season in the NBA, Rumble was named the NBA Mascot of the Year for his contributions to the Oklahoma City community. You’ll find him banging a drum before Thunder games at Paycom as he warms up the home crowd for OKC basketball.

  1. Moondog -- Cleveland Cavaliers 

Instagram: 39,300 followers
Twitter: 16,300 followers
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Moondog made his debut in 2003 and has since been selected to make multiple All-Star Weekend appearances. His name comes from the nickname of legendary radio disc jockey Alan Freed, who called himself “Moondog” and his listeners “Moondoggers”.

Freed was one of the most important figures in the creation of the “Rock and Roll” music industry. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is in Cleveland, which is widely regarded as the birthplace of the genre. In choosing a name for the Cleveland mascot, “Moondog” seemed like the perfect fit.

The Cavs mascot is a big brown dog who wears the Cleveland uniform and can regularly be found at home games taking behind-the-back shots from halfcourt and interacting with the crowd.

  1. Bango -- Milwaukee Bucks

Instagram: 43,800 followers
Twitter: 19,100 followers
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I like the origin of the Bucks’ mascot’s name. It comes from announcer Eddie Doucette’s famous call “Bango!” whenever Jon McGlocklin, an original Bucks player, sank one of his rainbow jumpers. “Bango” was chosen as the winner of a contest to name the new mascot for the team. 

Bango made his official debut for the Bucks back in 1977 at the team’s home opener. He regularly appears at events for children, hospitals, and other Bucks community functions. He consistently engages with the Wisconsin fanbase and has become a fan favorite.

Bango recently caused a delay in Wisconsin’s NCAA game vs. Maryland by breaking the rim while performing a trampoline dunk. Perhaps he was getting revenge for an earlier incident when he fell through a rim at the 2009 All-Star Weekend. The mascot tore his ACL and was unable to perform for the rest of that season, yet he still appeared at a few games in a wheelchair.

  1. Clutch the Bear -- Houston Rockets

Instagram: 34,100 followers
Twitter: 11,000 followers
Tiktok: 272,300 followers 

Clutch the Bear, the official mascot of the Houston Rockets has been entertaining crowds since 1995. He’s a fan favorite in the NBA and has traveled the world to meet and interact with international audiences. He has represented the Rockets in 13 countries, according to

Clutch is a brown bear with a friendly and approachable appearance. Often seen wearing a Rockets jersey and shorts, he is known for his athleticism and is famous for performing trampoline dunks and flips during games. He was also part of a notorious moment when a man’s marriage proposal was turned down at midcourt during a Rockets game in 2008.

The Rockets mascot derives his name from “Clutch City”, the nickname given to the Houston Rockets after they won their first championship in 1994. Clutch, named the NBA Mascot of the Year in 2005 and 2013, is a member of the Mascot Hall of Fame. 

Clutch boasts a significant TikTok following, earning him the No. 2 spot on this list of the league's top mascots. Most mascots have yet to transition to the platform, however.

  1. Benny the Bull -- Chicago Bulls

Instagram: 424,000 followers
Twitter: 64,300 followers
Tiktok: 5.4 million followers

When it comes to the world of NBA mascots, none can compare to Benny the Bull, who has been the Chicago Bulls' mascot for more than 50 years. With his incredible range of talents, Benny takes the top spot for entertainment among all NBA teams' mascots. 

A bright red bull in a Chicago Bulls uniform, Benny does just about everything at the team's home games in the United Center. He’ll be seen on the court behind reporters on camera, teasing opposition players in warmups, and interacting with referees. In general, Benny likes being a bit of a nuisance.

As a part of the "Benny and the Elevators" performance, Benny the Bull executes impressive trampoline-assisted dunks and sinks numerous half-court shots over his shoulder. He can be spotted all over the arena, participating in activities such as dancing with cheerleaders and engaging in a game of human bowling with Richard Branson. Despite his non-stop activities, Benny's entertainment game still manages to include selling popcorn, which makes him a true jack-of-all-trades among NBA mascots.

When it comes to being the best NBA mascot, there's no contest -- Benny the Bull takes the crown. He never fails to captivate fans with his popcorn antics, which involve launching entire bags of popcorn into the crowd in the most creative ways possible. Whether he's tripping over stairs, spilling popcorn everywhere, or running down the steps, Benny's brilliant act always draws cheers from NBA fans. Simply put, Benny is fantastic and loved by NBA fans everywhere.

His social media following speaks for itself, with almost half a million followers on Instagram and over 5 million on TikTok.

Parameters for ranking

The top 10 NBA mascots were evaluated based on their entertainment value and community contributions and were also ranked according to their social media following. Benny the Bull emerged as the most widely followed mascot, while some of the others had no presence on social media, which was a bit unexpected.

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