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76ers introduce new mascot, a fluffy blue dog named Franklin (pics/vids)

franklin-76ers

When an NBA team is mired in yet another dreadful losing season, perhaps one of the few things that can boost the spirits of its fan base — especially the wee ones — is to introduce a new mascot. At least that’s what the 12-41 Philadelphia 76ers are banking on with the official introduction on Tuesday of its new mascot, amid a level of pomp and circumstance befitting an, um, ginormous fluffy blue dog.

At the Franklin Institute on Tuesday afternoon, the fittingly named new mascot, Franklin, was introduced to fans and the world at-large.

Grantland’s Zach Lowe let the “dog out of the bag” (Franklin’s words) with a piece earlier this week about how Franklin came to be. An excerpt from that article, via NBA.com:

“The Sixers consulted several experts, including Dave Raymond, the original Phillie Phanatic, but they handed most of the creative duties to 1,000 kids ages 6 to 10 in the Delaware Valley, says Tim McDermott, the team’s chief marketing officer. The team’s research showed that most fans become fans within that age range, and so the Sixers decided to build a mascot kids that age would like.

…The kids liked fluffy things and blue things, and the Sixers zeroed in on the Franklin character. It was among two finalists; McDermott won’t disclose the other, but he says he guessed the kids would have chosen it over Franklin the dog. They didn’t, and so the Sixers’ on-court representative will be a big, furry, blue dog called Franklin. Ben Franklin himself might not be of much interest to young children, but the Sixers are at least naming the mascot for him.

…He will dribble, and dunk, and do all the crazy stunts fans expect of mascots now, McDermott says. He won’t need a sleek alternate costume for those things; the fluffy one is designed to accommodate full mascot freedom.

The 76ers have been going crazy with updates to social media concerning Franklin, with photos, videos of his introduction as well as documentation of his mad, high-flying skills and sick dance moves.

And boy oh boy, did the kids love him.

An adorable, loveable lug, to be sure. He’s no Pierre the Pelican, that’s for sure, although that’s probably a good thing for the psyches of the 76ers’ young fans.

Franklin, er, the 76ers, also announced Tuesday that the first 5,000 young fans in attendance at his official in-arena debut on Feb. 20 will receive Franklin jerseys. But the team then topped that offer by revealing that at a March 6 game at Wells Fargo Center, all kids will get in for free.

Hey, coming from a team that earlier this season was giving away two free tickets to home games in exchange for a box of Macaroni & Cheese, hey, anything to put butts in the seats, right?

(top image via Twitter/76ers)