And we have a mascot.
Ever since Josh Harris purchased the franchise in 2011 and Hip Hop was sent to live on a farm in Lancaster County, the 76ers have been without a mascot. Over the years there have been attempts to add a new mascot to the team, with development coming in fits and starts but nothing really grabbing the city’s attention.
Unless you count Phil E. Moose, which at this point has become something of a Philadelphia sports urban legend. But I digress.
So it was with a great deal of pomp and circumstance that the Sixers introduced their new mascot at an event at the Franklin Institute on Tuesday. Franklin, a large blue fluffy dog, has a penchant for dunking the basketball, dancing and is unapologetically “for kids, by kids.”
On hand for the unveiling was the legendary Phillie Phanatic as well as the team that helped to create the new mascot, which included a number of small children and season ticket holders.
Sixers Chief Marketing & Innovation Officer Tim McDermott told Sixers.com
“Franklin’s debut has been long-awaited by Sixers fans, and we could not be more pleased with his reception from the children in attendance at today’s unveiling. Bringing to life our franchise’s new mascot has been a collaborative, kid-focused process from the start that involved more than 1,000 children, Sixers Season Ticket Members and 40-plus designs.”
Amazingly, within hours of Franklin’s debut, the haters were already on Twitter and social media, giving the new mascot a hard time. Which is just dumbfounding on so many levels.
If you want children to get excited for the Sixers and attending games, you need something for them and just them. Words like “rebuild”, “salary cap” and “tanking” mean nothing to them. Whether the Sixers win or lose doesn’t really matter to them. Kids want to have fun, plain and simple. And if a giant blue dog than can dunk like K.J. McDaniels is the best way to do it, then consider me a fan.
Franklin will make his official debut February 20 when the Sixers face the Indiana Pacers, where the first 5,000 children through the door with receive a special edition Franklin jersey. He also already has a Twitter account and you can read his full backstory on his very own website.
A big blue dog. Only in Philadelphia.