THERE ARE 30 teams in the National Basketball Association—yet the Portland Trail Blazers have something that no one else does. It's not Greg Oden, Brandon Roy, or a promising future of playoff victories—it's that goddamn trail cat.
The team's mascot is a useless, fictional large-headed creature of unknown origin that goes by the name Blaze the Trail Cat. With his creepy erect tail that lurches out from his breakaway pants, Blaze is an untrustworthy creature who frightens children and adults alike. An abomination to the respectable tradition of mascots—from slam-dunking gorillas in sunglasses, to vaguely offensive Native Americans with spears and dreamcatchers—Blaze stalks the Rose Garden like an annoying sitcom neighbor who arrives unannounced, and then refuses to leave. His schtick—from Silly String to a Segway—is the same tired routine, which might cut it in the sticks, but fails to properly represent the fine tradition of NBA mascotery.
But there is a solution. Portland's rivals, the Seattle SuperSonics, are on the cusp of relocating to Oklahoma City in the off-season. While Seattle will be unfairly stripped of their team, and possibly the Sonics moniker as well, this is a golden opportunity for the Trail Blazers. Not to obtain Kevin Durant (or any number of Sonics players), but to sign/buy/kidnap Seattle's mascot, the enigmatic, charming, and hairy creature known as Squatch.
When it comes to the delicate art of slam dunking a basketball while being propelled by a trampoline, few do it better than Squatch. His skills are vast and his mascot abilities are graceful and energetic, yet still tactful and refined. He's everything Blaze is not. Plus he bears a strange resemblance to Teen Wolf, another mythical creature who is capable of grand performances on the basketball court. And if "Stiles" (or Channing Frye) wants him to surf atop a moving van, he'd totally do it.
While I'm no historian of mythological woodland creatures, I do believe with much conviction that the real Sasquatch is far more likely to lay claim to the plush Oregonian woods than he is the condos of Seattle's U-District, or, God forbid, the dusty wastelands of Oklahoma City. Just think what that dry air will do to Squatch's majestic mane of hair.
He belongs here.
I'm not saying Blaze deserves to be taken behind the old shed and shot with the T-shirt air gun. He can mascot swap meets, RV shows, and bar mitzvahs—but please, leave the basketball games to the professionals dressed like Bigfoot. While their motto is "Rise with Us," this Blazers franchise is being weighed down by the classless tomfoolery of a trail cat whose welcome is more worn out than Darius Miles'. It's time we set Blaze the Trail Cat free.
Portland, let's bring Squatch home!