Not surprisingly, a lot of basketball fans would like to work in the NBA. For instance, when I somewhat jokingly offered to write recommendations for applicants as the NBA added jobs following the lockout, several people wanted me to do so despite the fact that no reputable franchise would ever hire me, let alone someone based on my opinion. Such is the draw of a job in professional basketball.
When those jobs become available, people want to know. So, on this day, we bring you good news. The Phoenix Suns are looking to hire a new employee for one of their most high-profile positions. Yes, they need a new man or woman to perform as their mascot, the Gorilla. From the official job listing (via PBT and Off the Bench):
Be a world-class performer and ambassador for the Phoenix Suns organization both on the court and at appearances (charities, schools, hospitals, local businesses, etc.). Continue the great Gorilla "Go" tradition of making people smile, leaving them with long-lasting/positive memories, and representing the team with pride and passion. This is a full-time, salaried position reporting to our Vice President, Game Entertainment.
Here are some of the most notable requirements and responsibilities:
• Perform at Phoenix Suns home games, select community and Suns events, domestic and international events booked by the NBA
• Actively contribute to the goals of the Game Entertainment Department and the organization to promote the Phoenix Suns throughout the community from a branding, ticket sales, community relations, and publicity standpoint
• Represent the Phoenix Suns in a professional and appropriate manner at all times, inside and outside the suit
• Create new entertainment and recycle past successes for use at performances, including on-court skits/dances/stunts, in-stands interaction and improvisation, and off-site event entertainment
• Maintain an active calendar, and share, as needed, with necessary parties, such as the Mascot Coordinator, VP, Game Entertainment, and Director, Community Relations
• Purchase, manage, and maintain Go costumes, outfits, props, vehicles, and other items
• Assist in the creation and maintenance of Go website (www.sunsgorilla.com) and other social media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, etc.); respond to fan mail, emails, and other requests directed to Go
• Regularly attend and contribute to department meetings, providing creative input, ideas and brainstorming
• College degree preferred or equivalent experience
• 2 years of mascot experience required, either collegiate or professional
• Gymnastics, dance, and acro-dunk experience strongly recommended
• Stunt skills and/or training a plus
Several sites have reported that the former Gorilla got in a fight at a Dave & Buster's in April 2012, but that performer was apparently a backup Gorilla, not the head mascot in charge. All indications are that this position is for the alpha Gorilla. Apparently NBA teams work roughly the same as Krusty the Clown's college, farming out subpar versions of the real thing for local appearances. It's like we've been lied to all these years.
This is serious work, clearly — a mascot's job does not only involve jumping through rings of fire and throwing T-shirts to rabid fans. As Trey Kerby notes at The Basketball Jones, this description makes us wonder if mascots have to wear their costumes while they sit at their desks, too. Years of "SportsCenter" commercials would suggest they do. Maybe, when a mascot retires, it also gets a furry gold watch.
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