Big game. Lots of pressure. If the Hawks lose tonight, they probably lose the series. But enough gloom and doom. Let’s talk about Bango.
Bango is the Milwaukee Bucks’ mascot. He — and I believe he’s a he — wears a deer costume. He’s not what you’d call intimidating. (When last did you see a scary deer?) But Bango did become the biggest Internet sensation of the NBA playoffs with a feat performed in Game 4 on Monday.
During a timeout, Bango climbed up a 20-foot ladder and, with his back to the basket, jumped off and dunked the ball. The Bradley Center crowd went Bango-ballistic, and even the Hawks took note. “That,” Joe Smith pronounced before tonight’s Game 5, “was sweet.”
And here’s my challenge to the Hawks: Last year Philips Arena produced a playoff star in Spirit the Hawk, who flew rampant before Game 2 of Round 1 against Miami and became so famous that he — the bird himself informed me in a Tweet that he was a he — had his own Twitter postings. But Spirit has been strangely quiet this time.
I say, on the behalf of Hawks fans everywhere, it’s time to unleash the fury. Un-tether Spirit and let him dunk the ball from the rafters. This is the postseason. Gotta bring your mascot’s A-game.
Oh, about Game 5 itself: You all know what’s at stake. So do the Hawks. They seem ready, and they’d better be. Lose tonight and Bango could easily sky-slam them into the floorboards Friday in Milwaukee.
And with that, we’ll open the floor for questions, comments and your favorite anecdotes about dunkin’ deer. I’ll be here until the Hawks have taken a 3-2 lead in the series — yes, I think they’ll win, but I’ve been wrong rather recently — and I’d love to have you alongside.