Lamar Odom, who describes himself as a “woke young black man,” recently called the Phoenix Suns’ gorilla mascot racist and called for it to be replaced like the Washington Redskins.
Odom appeared on The Bootleg Kev Podcast, where he stated he felt bad for Suns fans explaining, “Well, I feel bad for Suns fans because they ain’t never gonna get probably what y’all probably deserve pry ’til you change the mascot.”
Odom was then asked, “What does that mean? You don’t like the gorilla?” He replied, “Nah, bro.”
When specifically asked if the gorilla mascot has racial connotations, Odom answered, “Come on, bro. And then the thing that’s funny is like they kind of like slid that one by for all these years. Nobody says anything about that.”
He added, “Well, okay. Gorillas in the desert. You can’t find any. You could probably find a cactus or…”
He would later interject, “In basketball, bro? It’s just like, come on. But you know what’s so really crazy about it? Is that it was a — they just tried it because they wanted to get the fans involved. And that’s the reason why they kept it because the fans loved it.”
“I’m just saying though, it’s not good representation because Phoenix is like the last city to recognize Dr. King as a — come on, man,” he stated.
He then called for the mascot to be replaced, “The gorilla? Okay. It’s just like how they changed the Redskins and the Indians. Yeah, I think it’s probably about that time as a woke young black man in America right now, in this climate. I’m surprised Chris Paul hasn’t said anything about it.”
12 News reports that Phoenix native Henry Rojas was originally hired to attend a game at the Memorial Coliseum in 1980 dressed in a gorilla suit. He joined the team as an official mascot by the end of the season after the fans fell in love with the mascot.
Rojas told 12 News in 2021, “Weird stuff happened when I was out there. I would polish the three-point line when we needed one shot and they hit the shot.”
What do you make of Odom accusing the mascot of being racist? Do you think it will be replaced?