I was sitting on the floor at a Sixers’ game, when he came out of nowhere, his arm arched in the air.
My god, I thought. That six-foot rabbit in sunglasses is about to strike me.
But Hip-Hop was no vicious creature; his survival was based on high-fives from the crowd. He craved them; absorbed them; demanded them. Not only were they indicative of his acceptance from an adoring public, but they were keeping him alive.
You killed him.
Some may have argued that the Sixers’ mascot should never have been an intensely active rabbit wearing sunglasses in the first place. Those people don’t use enough LSD.
What else have Sixers games been for the last few years but the intermissions between Hip-Hop performances? Witnessing a Hip-Hop dunk from a trampoline was one of the most electrfiying moments in sports. Who cares if it made no sense and everyone hated it? What else were people going to derive pleasure from at the Wells Fargo Center?
What is truly scary is the future. The replacement will undoubtedly be a giant 6 with a face or Ben Frankliin or some other thing that makes a tiny bit of sense. We don’t need “sense” in Philadelphia basketball. We need bat shit insanity to distract from the pain of mediocrity.
Was it weird to hear the guy in the costume through his mask? Yes. Extremely alarming, really. That line is a delicate one for mascots, and Hip-Hop crossed it daily.
And in the end, for that and a bunch of other reasons (“He’s terrible”) Hip-Hop has been discontinued. He symbolizes a simpler time; when rabbits were free to play sports and walk around on their hind legs and be friends with a basketball team. But sadly, the world has become a cold, unforgiving place; a place where rabbits are more likely to be put in a stew and eaten then celebrated for being able to entertain through the majesty of slam dunking a basketball.
The NBA itself has undergone a fracturing of hope. The players we assumed were playing out of a passion and joy for the game were really just doing it for the money. The money, guys. Did you even know pro basketball players got paid?
And sadly, as the world darkens and the endless chill grows, people/animal hybrids like Hip-Hop will be the first to fall. This is no ending that begins something else; Mini Hip-Hop will not be taking the reins. The age of the slam dunking rabbits in Philadelphia is supremely, ultimately, and irreversibly complete.
But there will, however, be basketball. Which is nice.