Detroit Pistons: Where does “Hooper” rank as a mascot?

Detroit Pistons mascot Hooper before a game against the Memphis Grizzlies Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Pistons mascot Hooper before a game against the Memphis Grizzlies Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Pistons have a unique home game experience for fans that has been evolving for decades.

One thing the NBA began mastering in the 1980s was the art of entertainment. Commissioner David Stern and owners like the Los Angeles Lakers Jerry Buss realized that they were selling more than a game; they were peddling excitement. Ever since, going to an NBA game has truly become an experience. The chance to see superstars like LeBron James up close is already enough to sell tickets, but with the addition of cheerleaders dancing through time-outs and acrobats performing during half-time shows, the NBA offers a brand of entertainment that goes largely unmatched. Somewhere along the way, just about every franchise found occasion to add a mascot to the mix as well. For the Detroit Pistons that mascot is Hooper. The Pistons on-court play has the fanbase in the dumps, but how do fans across the league feel about our dancing, dunking horse?

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Detroit Pistons: Hooper enters the scene

Hooper has been a staple at Pistons games since 1996, during the teal era, so to speak. The Bad Boys were a distant memory. Joe Dumars and Rick Mahorn were the only remnants on the roster and felt like nostalgia acts. Grant Hill has in his prime, likely having some of his excellence stifled by head coach Doug Collins. They were decent, but nowhere close to touching another Larry O’Brien trophy. Given the heights the franchise reached in the late-1980s they just weren’t as exciting to watch as they once were. Frankly, beyond small children who were likely oblivious to what was going on in the actual game, Hooper didn’t move the needle all that much for a fanbase that yearned for the old days. Yet, over the years, Hooper has managed to ingratiate himself with the Detroit Pistons faithful and his presence would now be missed were he to be absent from a game at Little Caesars Arena. The question is, have NBA fans across the league taken notice?

Hooper Ranked 12th by Fans in Nationwide Poll

Considering how poorly the team has been playing for the last several years, Hooper is fairing well for himself nowadays. In the eyes of the average NBA fan, he’s a solid part of the Pistons package. He ranked 12th in a recent poll conducted by NJ.Bet on nearly a thousand fans across the country. The Memphis Grizzlies’ Grizz finished at the top, followed by Benny the Bull in Chicago and Cleveland’s Moondog. Dallas’ Mavs Man finds himself firmly entrenched at the bottom of the list.

The poll also revealed that most fans enjoy having mascots as part of the NBA experience, attributing their ability to hype the crowd and appeal to children as the foremost reasons. Also on that list is nostalgia, which figures pretty firmly into Hooper’s reputation around the D. He may have been born during some pretty tough times, but he’s also celebrated some good ones with us too as he was a part of the Goin’ to Work era that brought championship #3. One can only assume that he’s longing for a healthy Cade Cunningham and hoping for more draft lottery luck like the rest of us.

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