One of the greatest pieces of wisdom I've ever learned from the philosophers George Clooney and Matt Damon is that if you lose focus for one second in this game, somebody can get hurt. This is true of all games, but especially the mascot game, as the San Antonio Spurs' venerable animal representative — noted T-shirt cannon pioneer, pizza decoration, Gorilla-tricker and pants-eschewer the Coyote — learned late in the fourth quarter of the Spurs' 108-103 win over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday:
After a missed runner by Tim Duncan — one of only a few miscues by the "Big Fundamental" on a night that saw him pop for 29 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks in 36 1/2 minutes — multiple Spurs and Nuggets players battled for the rebound, with Denver big man Darrell Arthur (whom you might remember from Kevin Durant's latest bit of evil) knocking it out of bounds behind the basket.
Nuggets guard Aaron Brooks gave chase but was unable to save it; he was, however, able to slap the ball upward and knock it into the Coyote's face, sending the mascot reeling and eventually crashing to the floor. When he popped up, his bugged-out eyes had moved from their standard horizontal arrangement into an i-formation; after another theatrical stagger, they were gone all together. (Because he's a part of the Spurs organization, though, his other senses were naturally immediately amplified to Dardevilish levels, and he checked in to score nine points on 3 for 4 shooting over the final 90-plus seconds of game action.)
As moments of mascot mayhem/injuries go, this one still ranks below Brooklyn Nets mascot the BrooklyKnight lodging a basketball in the 24-second clock on a trampoline dunk gone wrong, Milwaukee Bucks mascot Bango tearing his ACL after being hit in the groin by a backward half-court shot, the rollerblading Inflatable Raptor's infamous faceplant, European soccer club Hoffenheim's mascot's head falling off mid-celebration and the Amarillo Sock's very existence. Or, y'know, most anything seen here:
As an improvised response to a kind-of-not-so-nice move by Brooks, though? Classic comedy. Keep the ball in the air, Coyote. Find the game.
For my money, Eyes-less Coyote isn't nearly as creepy as King Cake Baby or Original Pierre. In fact, given the sheer amped-up terror of the Coyote's green bloodshot peepers, this might constitute an improvement.
Also, look on the bright side, Coyote: At least it was the Nuggets in town on Wednesday, and not the Indiana Pacers. You could've caught David West in a foul mood, and that's bad news. Just ask Moondog. Also, if you met any children on Wednesday before getting your eyes back in, they'll grow up to have stories that will be told in John Mulaney's stand-up act. That's about as great a gift as you can give a kid, I think.
- - - - - - -