"Rocky" the Nuggets mascot reportedly collapsed on the Pepsi Center court after remaining motionless as he was lowered from the rafters before Denver's home opener against Portland on Friday night.
Video of Rocky's entry -- via the Altitude broadcast -- can be seen above. The mascot's arms and legs did not move as he descended with the help of a harness, and his head was slumped forward. Upon dismount, he simply fell to the side.
TheDenverChannel.com reports that Rocky required medical attention after he "collapsed" once he reached the court during the team's pre-game introductions.
The plan was for Rocky to be lowered in a harness, with a spotlight on him, just before the home opener. Fans were horrified when a lifeless Rocky was lowered to the center court where he immediately collapsed. The spotlight was quickly turned off. Word from the Nuggets was that Rocky had the wind knocked out of him and would be out for the remainder of the game.
Denver's 9News.com also reported that Rocky "passed out" during the pre-game ceremony.
The mascot was motionless as he was lowered down from the ceiling. The Nuggets say he's doing fine but did not return to entertain at Friday's game.
The unsettling scene raises the question of how much is too much when it comes to pre-game festivities. Every year, it seems, the bar gets raised: the Heat beamed three-dimensional video onto their court, some teams erect massive screens that hang down from the scoreboard, others incorporate pyrotechnics that leave smoke in the building, and still others push the envelope when it comes to mascot stunts.
Friday night should serve as a nice "risk/reward" calculator. Whatever marginal benefit there was to be gained by air-dropping the mascot was just wiped out by an unforgettable, fairly horrible mental image that is going to linger for awhile. There must be a safer, equally effective method for setting an exhilarating tone on opening night.
Here's another look via @DaneCarbaugh.
Portland defeated Denver 113-98 thanks to a game-high 25 points and nine rebounds from LaMarcus Aldridge. Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum each chipped in 18 points as the Blazers improved to 1-1. Denver dropped to 0-2 despite 24 points off the bench from Nate Robinson. Hat tip: ProBasketballTalk | Video via YouTube user atombombmother | Hat tip on video: @eddysex