Lamar Odom Thinks The Phoenix Suns’ Gorilla Mascot Is Racist Because Of Course He Does

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Two-time NBA champion Lamar Odom is calling out the Phoenix Suns for having a gorilla as their mascot, claiming that it’s racist.

During an appearance on, “The Bootleg Kev Podcast,” hosted by hip-hop personality and Suns fan Bootleg Kev, Odom brought up the Suns’ mascot. Officially named “Go the Gorilla,” it has been with the team since 1980.

“I feel bad for the Suns fans because they ain’t even gonna get what you all probably deserve until… probably until you change the mascot,” Odom said.

Lamar Odom claims the Phoenix Suns “Go the Gorilla” mascot is racist during an interview on The Bootleg Kev Podcast.

When asked to further expound, Odom said, “Gorillas, in the desert, you can’t find any. You could probably find a cactus.”

Somebody better not inform Lamar that the Detroit Red Wings have an octopus as their mascot. Detroit is located in the landlocked state of Michigan and surrounded by the freshwater Great Lakes. Not sure how many octopi people are swimming into up there.

The Detroit Red Wings have had “Al the Octopus” as their mascot for decades. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

And I’ve seen some stuff in Philadelphia but I haven’t come across a Phillie Phanatic in real life yet.

The Philly Phanatic has been a staple at Phillies games entertaining fans and causing on-field havoc. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)


Odom wasn’t done. He then claimed that the Suns “slid that one by for all these years,” while complaining that “nobody says anything about that.”

Lamar then seems to be confused and trying to convince himself that the gorilla is racist when he added, “But you know what’s so, really crazy about it? They just tried it because they wanted to get the fans involved, and that’s the reason why they kept it ’cause the fans loved it.”

Yes, many of the Suns fans love their mascot. They probably wouldn’t if they believed it was racist.

They also have a reason to appreciate Go the Gorilla – he’s one of the coolest mascots in the league. He’s a prankster, a jokester, and more athletic than half the NBA. His slam dunks are wild.

In 2017, called Go a “megastar.”

The NBA writes that Go has been, “long considered the best mascot in the NBA.”

Even ESPN did a documentary called, “The Origin of Species,” where they called Go, “The Michael Jordan of mascots,” as well as “the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be.”


I’m not sure what Odom’s real point was in the interview.

His initial comment saying he feels bad for the Suns fans about their team and things won’t change around until they get a new mascot is just bizarre.

The team is literally in first place in the Western Conference and made it to the NBA Finals two years ago, and the Western Conference Finals last season. It’s not like they are cursed or playing bad.

And they did all that with Go the Gorilla as their mascot.

Go the Gorilla has been the Phoenix Suns mascot since 1980. (Copyright 2010 NBAE Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)


For the first 11 seasons of their existence in the NBA, the Suns didn’t have an official mascot. They tried having one that was wearing a sunflower costume, but it didn’t catch on.

In 1980, a diehard Suns fan sent a singing telegram of a gorilla to the arena before the game. Henry Rojas, who was under the gorilla costume, began dancing in the stands during commercials and the crowd immediately started cheering him on. He kept returning to games until the Suns officially named him the mascot later that season.

He is so popular and loved by fans that he was selected to be one of three inaugural members of the Mascots Hall of Fame in 2005.

The Phoenix Suns Go the Gorilla is known for his athleticism and awesome slam dunks during games. (Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns are currently trying to find a new owner after Robert Sarver announced he would be selling both the Suns and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, following an investigation into workplace misconduct that included racist and sexist behavior.

Now before someone says, “Well there you go! Sarver is a racist and thus Go the Gorilla is racist!”

Sarver didn’t own the Suns until 2004, so he had nothing to do with Go the Gorilla’s inception.

Also, what Sarver said and did was clearly wrong and he has been punished for it and will have nothing to do with the team ever again. But to go after the mascot seems a bit of a stretch by Lamar Odom.

We’ll see what the new owners think when whomever eventually takes control of the team and if they decide to keep Go as the mascot.

Written by Mike Gunzelman

Mike “Gunz” Gunzelman has been involved in the sports and media industry for over a decade. He’s also a risk taker - the first time he ever had sushi was from a Duane Reade in Penn Station in NYC.


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