Its been a tough season for the Philadelphia 76ers. A 12-41 is pretty lousy, regardless if they earned it by tanking our just being straight up bad. There’s not a whole lot to do to get your fan base at least a little excited (isn’t that right, Knicks?), but the 76ers gave it a try today by introducing Franklin, the team’s new mascot.
Franklin made his debut, appropriately enough, at the Franklin Institute in Philly. Three hundred kids were on hand to meet the big blue dog “with perky ears and wagging tail” and who is Sixers fans’ new “best friend.” (I wonder if the team gave any thought to introducing a dog mascot in the middle of a dog of a season…)
The new mascot replaces the team’s last one, a terrifying giant rabbit named Hip Hop, who was, um, decommissioned after the 2011 season. It was well deserved. Really. He’s a large, horrifying bunny that looks like he was bred to give everyone nightmares. Seriously, look at how scared Allen Iverson is in this photo:
The team’s new dog mascot, on the other hand, was designed to be way, way friendlier.
“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,” Tim McDermott, the team’s Chief Marketing & Innovation Officer, said.
He got off to a good start, mingling with hundreds of kids (and the Philly Phanatic), as well as putting on an air show:
Franklin will be making the rounds in the City of Brotherly Love over the next 10 days, and will make his official NBA debut on February 20. He might not be the missing piece, but he should make the losses hurt a little less. I mean, look at that face!
Photos: Philadelphia 76ers (in front of Franklin text), Matt Rourke/AP Photo (dunk, kids), Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images (Iverson)