Why a gorilla? Phoenix is in a desert. Why not a Gila monster?
During the late 1970s a fan hired a singing-telegram guy in a gorilla suit to sing Happy Birthday to his wife in the stands during the first-quarter break. After that, it became popular to bring the gorilla in to do singing telegrams. That's how it started.
When you took over for the original gorilla, did you get any tips?
I was told the gorilla has a character, that he's trying to be human. He tries as hard as he can to be the coolest human possible, but he's just one step short. He doesn't quite get the girl.
How did you get the job?
Acrobatics were my selling point. I was born and raised a gymnast. I didn't have a lot of basketball experience.
Do you hang out with rival mascots?
Hugo the Hornet and I were roommates at Arizona State. When I first got the job, he made fun of me, about how I had to go to a Laundromat to wash my gorilla suit. Then I got a call from Charlotte, and I suggested him. He's been there 12 years.
Have you formed a mascot union?
No, but we have an NBA mascot conference every summer, usually in Las Vegas. It's a trip. The guys get together, share stories, swap ideas. We started it for fun, but now it's a serious conference. We actually learn a lot. We also hit the gaming tables.