Clippers unveil Chuck the Condor, their instantly unpopular mascot

The Los Angeles Clippers have long been one of the few NBA teams without an official mascot. While notable human fans like Clipper Darrell and Billy Crystal have arguably served in the role unofficially, owner Steve Ballmer deemed the introduction of a mascot to be a necessary part of the franchise's rebranding. It should not have come as a surprise to anyone familiar with Microsoft Word's Clippy, an omnipresent creature identified with Ballmer's past place of work.

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The crowd at Monday night's game against the Brooklyn Nets had the pleasure of meeting the result of design sessions and focus groups — an official mascot known as Chuck the Condor. Here's a look:

Chuck the Condor would like to give you a very wide hug. (via
Chuck the Condor would like to give you a very wide hug. (via

Chuck is based on the California condor, a critically endangered species with great meaning to the history of the state and various Native-American groups within it. It also happens to have the longest wingspan of any North American bird at 9.8 feet, which makes for a pretty clear connection to basketball. We cannot explain the Evel Knievel-like branding quite so easily, but nobody ever said every aspect of a mascot needs to make sense.

The ever-excitable Ballmer was thrilled to introduce Chuck to Clippers fans. He celebrated by jumping off a trampoline for this two-handed slam:

We look forward to seeing more owners follow Ballmer's lead at future mascot unveilings. We hear that Vivek Ranadive has a serious vertical.

The Clippers added further joy to the proceedings by gifting each attending fan with a voucher for a pair of red Chuck Taylor sneakers (get it?!). Chuck the Condor himself promised to give away 213 pairs of the shoes on Twitter, as well.

Unfortunately, the public did not bestow the gift of popularity upon Chuck and the Clippers. In fact, early takes have been pretty vicious. Here's rapper Vince Staples, a Long Beach native and Cippers fan:

Staples also made the very good point that no one in L.A. has a 213 area code in 2016, albeit in language we can't reprint here.

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If confused anger isn't your speed, maybe you'd prefer to compare Chuck to a recent Oscar winner:

Or how about Nutsy the Vulture from Disney's animated "Robin Hood" movie:

And that's just how the West Coast reacted to Chuck. We eagerly await Tuesday morning's thoughts from New York and the rest of the Eastern Seaboard.

It's worth noting that most mascots are meant for children, so it's perhaps not a great idea to judge the effectiveness of a mascot from the thoughts of a bunch of caustic people on Twitter. On the other hand, it's difficult to look at Chuck the Condor and see any connection to the history of the Clippers. It's a form of fan outreach designed to appeal to everyone in theory and no one in particular. You can't blame Ballmer for wanting to differentiate his incarnation of the Clippers from the Donald Sterling era, but he hasn't necessarily created something good. It's just a less offensive bad.

Incidentally, the Clippers won this game 105-95 behind 23 points and 12 assists from Chris Paul. Ballmer's dunk did not count towards the final score.

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Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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