AFTER TWO SEASONS, THE NETS FIRED their mascot, the BrooklyKnight, ending a run with the team that barely exceeded Jason Kidd's. But there are other mascots currently somersaulting around arenas who should (probably, maybe) also be concerned about their job security. Behold the Mascot Hot Seat.
CLARK THE CUB
When introduced in January, there was an immediate and vicious online backlash (as well as a few dubious Photoshops) centered on Clark's lack of pants. He streaks on—for now—but a bottomless promotional ploy is one slip-up away from becoming the Crystal Pepsi of mascotdom.
SEAT TEMPERATURE: JULY IN CHICAGO
It sounds like a name on a bad fake ID, but it's actually the Steelers' oft-forgotten and hardly beloved mascot. Yup, he's just a guy who carries around a steel beam. Pittsburgh fans adore their Terrible Towels but rightfully ignore their terrible mascot.
SEAT TEMPERATURE: MOLTEN
Burnie, an indistinguishable animal with inextinguishable fur, is still feeling the hurt from a $1 million lawsuit he was hit with in 1994 for causing a fan emotional distress. (It was settled out of court for $50,000.) His bigger crime? His team won three titles in a decade yet nobody knows who he is.
SEAT TEMPERATURE: MIAMI HEAT
In their attempts to improve, the Royals have gone through eight managers since 1996, the year Sluggerrr was introduced. Yet the mascot endures, even as he's being sued by a fan who claims the lion tossed a hot dog into the stands that struck him in the eye. If Sluggerrr's arm is that good, he should be the Royals' fifth starter.
SEAT TEMPERATURE: SUB-SAHARAN
KING CAKE BABY
A larger-than-life representation of the plastic good-luck trinket traditionally hidden inside a Mardi Gras cake, KCB looks like the unholy, wide-eyed offspring of Chuckie and Baby New Year. It should be retired if for no other reason than a creature wearing both a crown and a diaper sends a bad message.
SEAT TEMPERATURE: IT'S ON FIRE!
For more mascots on the hot seat go to SI.com/extra-mustard
SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
Lefthander Derek Holland says he and his fellow Rangers pass time in the bullpen by playing fart-bottle roulette.
JESSE D. GARRABRANT/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (KNIGHT)
BRIAN KERSEY/UPI/LANDOV (CLARK)
KEITH SRAKOCIC/AP (STEELY)
DOUG BENC/GETTY IMAGES (BURNIE)
ED ZURGA/GETTY IMAGES (SLUGGERRR)
LAYNE MURDOCH/NBA (CAKE BABY)
OTTO GREULE JR./GETTY IMAGES (HOLLAND)