The Sixers finally have a mascot, a blue dog named Franklin

Mascots brighten up every sports fan's day, but several franchises sadly do not employ fuzzy and/or be-spandexed characters on a full-time basis. While franchises like the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers can claim tradition for their lack of mascot, other squads do not have the same excuse. The Los Angeles Clippers, for instance, could use a cuddly character given their history.

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Kudos to the Philadelphia 76ers, then, for finally escaping the land of mascot-less franchises. The team introduced Franklin, a large and presumably friendly blue dog, to fans on Tuesday. Take a look at him here:

I'm Franklin, the rockin' dog! (via Sixers.com)
I'm Franklin, the rockin' dog! (via Sixers.com)

Ooh, Franklin is one outrageous dude. He's totally in my face:

The Sixers' press release is suitably ridiculous:

As they dug through piles of books, watched movies and spoke with Philadelphians far and wide, along with more than 1,000 kids, they found a common thread…a special creature…whose ancestors had been a part of the city’s history from the start. [...]

The designers were convinced that this creature, if they could find it today, might be the mascot they’d been looking for all this time.

They took a break from their research to play some basketball at the arena…and found tiny blue scratch marks on the court….then bits of blue fur…and then, peeking around the corner of the Sixers’ locker room, the Chief Designers saw eyes looking up at them from a blue furry creature.

They’d found it! The descendant of these great blue creatures had come to live at the Center!

Yes, Franklin isn't just a corporation-created mascot, but a truly essential part of Philadelphian and therefore American history. Unlike many national heroes, he has a Twitter account and is available for bookings. Take that, Patrick Henry!

Mascot historians (there are dozens of us!) may remember that the Sixers held a fan vote to select a mascot way back in December 2011, a season in which the currently tank-happy franchise won a playoff series. The options back then were Big Ben, an even more cartoonish version of Benjamin Franklin); Franklin B. Dogg, a brown dog named after Benjamin Franklin, which is just weird given the presence of Big Ben; and Phil E. Moose, an anthropomorphic version of an animal that doesn't even inhabit the area around the city. The Sixers never explained why they didn't honor the results of this fan vote, but the new Franklin is an improvement over all these choices. Yes, the Cleveland Cavaliers also have a dog for a mascot (Moondog), but not differentiating yourself from the competition is better than making everyone wonder whether Big Ben would be a man dressed like Ben Franklin or a full-on plush costume. Then again, the three previous choices were all better than the team's previous mascot, the arguably offensive Hip Hop the Rabbit.

Whatever Franklin's merits, it's a safe bet that the kids who go to games at Wells Fargo Center will enjoy the mascot's antics. Given that the Sixers have two active players not born in the 1990s, the players may find him a lot of fun, too.

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