The heavens open up. An infectious beat fills the air.
I feel like I’m at the beginning of A Knight’s Tale. Let’s FREAKING rock!
The Pepsi Center crowd in the Mile High City is clapping with anticipation.
There he is, our king, Rocky. The Denver Nuggets mascot is harnessed from the rafters and begins the descent towards the court.
Our cheerful, lively, devastatingly handsome mountain lion is motionless. He makes it to the floor and collapses.
The PA announcer didn’t miss a beat.
Denver Nuggets Mascot Passes Out
The pregame introduction quickly took a dark turn. The spotlight was literally turned off.
Rocky was checked by medical personnel before walking off the court under his own power. The in-game injury report confirmed he was out for the remainder of the game. It was a sorrowful Friday night that included the Nuggets falling to the Portland Trail Blazers 113-98 in the 2013-14 home opener.
On the bright side, Rocky let everyone know he was okay on social media.
Sports Illustrated questioned if mascot spectacles are too much. Listen, in-game entertainment is a part of the experience. I went my senses to be drowned in theatrics.
What happened to Rocky is unfortunate. But if you think this didn’t make him look in the mirror and ask himself if he can be a better mascot, then I don’t know what to tell you.
Rocky is a champion of the people, and most importantly the kids. He rebounded and won the NBA’s Mascot of the Year in 2019.
He spent hours upon hours practicing dancing behind LeBron James taking the ball out of bounds when the Los Angeles Lakers are in town. He added flexibility to do round offs when Klay Thompson is shooting free throws. He studied film of Randy Moss mooning to use when Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic is talking to the ref during a dead ball.
In the middle of the coronavirus-riddled season, Rocky’s biggest supporters are Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, and the entire city of Denver. He treats each game like it’s the Super Bowl. Not because he has to, because he loves to.
The Coyote of the San Antonio Spurs took home the league crown in 2020. You better believe that’s hanging on the bulletin board when Rocky’s flossing in the weight room.