New Season, New Bear

Sam McMullin, Staff Writer

The Utah Jazz have an iconic mascot. The Jazz Bear has been their mascot since 1994 and Jon Absey has been behind the costume since the beginning. Absey worked as the mascot for 24 years, but with the beginning of the 2018-2019 season he has been let go. Now someone new has taken his place as the Jazz Bear. Whoever they are, they have a lot to live up to. The Bear was inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame in 2006. And has now won the NBA’s Mascot of the Year Award five times, with the recent win in 2017-2018. Will this new mascot be able to entertain millions the way the last did?

The Jazz became a team in 1974 originally coming out of New Orleans. In their first season as a team they only won 23 games. This pattern continued for the next five years. The team was then moved to Utah in 1979. Changing the team’s name was in work, but no change was ever made. The team colors also stayed the same and slowly changed over the years till the current colors of blue, green, and yellow.

The Jazz Bear was introduced in 1994 and we have had the same man in the costume, until this year. On his debut night he was introduced by rappelling down from the catwalks above the court. The Jazz Bear also won 8 Mascot Leadership awards. He was given this award in 2017-2918 for mentoring other mascots in the league. Absey had over 800 home games where he entertained fans of all ages.  The Bear has been like no other, he has over 4,000 dunks, has climbed more than 1,000 ladders, used more than 55,000 cans of silly string, and raised over 1,000,000 dollars for charity. The Jazz Bear has helped more than 300 different charitable organizations.

The Utah Jazz have not official announced any reasoning behind Jon Absey being let go, but rumors suggest he was fired for supposed ongoing disputes with Jazz management. Abey’s replacement, who has not been named, has seemed to take over the position quite nicely. The new Bear’s first game as mascot was the game against the Golden State Warriors. That night, along with the costume, the new Bear threw on the stilts and hit giant golf balls into the crowd, a classic routine for the Jazz Bear.

The Jazz had a successful season last year making it to the semi-finals, but losing to the Houston Rockets.They’ve had a good start to their season and as the Jazz make another run for the Championship title, fans should scan the sidelines for the Bear. A legacy continues.