Former NBA star Lamar Odom has called the Phoenix Suns’ gorilla mascot racist following the team owner’s one-year suspension for using racial and sexual slurs.
Odom, 43, appeared on the podcast hosted by Suns fan Bootleg Kev on Nov. 23 to discuss Arizona’s controversial mascot that has been appearing on the court since 1980.
The basketball team has come under scrutiny after owner Robert Sarver was found to have used the N-word at least five times among other transgressions during his nearly two-decade tenure. Sarver has since been suspended for one year and fined $10 million.
Odom, who described himself as an “awake, young black man in America,” admitted he was dissatisfied with the Suns’ gorilla mascot, saying team officials were spoiled for choice.
‘Do you think there’s a racial connotation to the Suns gorilla?’ Bootleg Kev asked Odom.
To which Odom replied: ‘What’s funny is that he was overlooked for all these years. Nobody says anything about it. Gorillas, in the desert, you can’t find any. You could probably find a cactus.
‘In basketball, brother, like, come on, brother. But do you know what really drives you crazy? They just tried it because they wanted to get the fans involved, and that’s the reason they kept it, because the fans loved it.
The basketball star, who ended his career with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2013, further noted that Arizona did not recognize Martin Luther King Day until 1992.
Former NBA star Lamar Odom appeared on the Bootleg Kev podcast on November 23 and argued that the Phoenix Suns mascot is racist.
The Arizona Suns gorilla has been on the sidelines since the 1980s, but Odom argued that he never saw anything wrong with the mascot until recently. Pictured: The mascot with American Idol winner Jordan Sparks in 2008
Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver (pictured) has been suspended by the NBA for one year and fined $10 million following a league investigation into allegations he used racial slurs, created an unfair work environment for women and engaged in harsh and demeaning treatment of employees.
Odom (number seven) retired his NBA career in 2013 with the Los Angles Clippers. The NBA star began his career with the Clippers from 1999 to 2003 before spending a year with the Miami Heat and then the Lakers from 2004 to 2011. Photo: Odom in 2000
While the Arizona Suns gorilla was once a beloved mascot, it was recently ranked as one of the worst in the NBA.
The controversial gorilla was ranked 25th out of 27 mascots in the industry in a 2021 survey conducted by PlayAZ.com. Following the Suns’ ranking was the San Antonio Spurs’ Coyote and the Dallas Mavericks’ Mavs Man.
Bootleg Kev and Odom voiced their differences with the controversial gorilla when the podcast host argued that the mascot was popular with fans and won mascot of the year multiple times.
“You know what it is, man, the Suns bouncer is so popular in Phoenix,” Bootleg Kev said.
“I bet it is,” Odom said.
The podcast host then argued that the gorilla was tame and did its job as a pet, to which Odom disagreed.
‘Nope, [the way he was] jumping off the roof and all that,’ said the former NBA star. ‘You know, at 42 I’m looking at totally different things.’
Odom added: “It was crazy because when I was playing that’s something that just crossed my mind, the gorilla.”
Arizona’s mascot was recently ranked as one of the worst in the NBA last year.
Odom appeared on the podcast hosted by Suns fan Bootleg Kev on November 23.
The basketball star, who ended his career with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2012, further noted that Arizona did not recognize Martin Luther King Day until 1992.
Lamar Odom (left) and Ron Artest (right) look at their championship rings before the start of the Lakers’ home opener on October 26, 2010
Meanwhile, Suns owner Sarver was suspended in September following an NBA investigation into allegations against him of racial slurs.
At the time, the NBA revealed that Sarver used the N-word on at least five occasions among other transgressions.
“As stated in the report, the independent investigation found that Mr. Sarver engaged in conduct that clearly violated common workplace standards, as reflected in team and League rules and policies,” the statement wrote. NBA in a statement.
‘This conduct included the use of racially insensitive language; unequal treatment of female employees; statements and conduct related to sex; and harsh treatment of employees that at times amounted to bullying.’
According to the league, Sarver is not allowed at any NBA or WNBA team facility, including offices, stadiums and practice facilities, as well as any other league-related event, both public and private. He is also prohibited from involvement with the Suns or basketball operations.
While Sarver offered an apology and accepted the NBA’s consequences, he disagreed with some areas of the NBA’s report.
“I would like to apologize for my words and actions that offended our employees,” Sarver said earlier in a statement. ‘I take full responsibility for what I have done. I’m sorry I caused you this pain, and these errors in judgment are not consistent with my personal philosophy or values.’
Sarver, who is reportedly worth $850 million, denied or disputed nearly all of the claims in ESPN’s original report last year. On Tuesday, he offered an apology (pictured)
In addition to saying the N-word, Sarver is also accused of using language and engaging in demeaning conduct toward female employees, according to the NBA statement (pictured).
Following the suspension and $10 million fine, it was announced that the Suns expected to sell for an estimated $3 billion.
Sarver announced his decision to sell the team to Mercury in September after several sponsors, including Verizon Wireless and PayPal, had intended to close endorsement deals. He initially bought the team in 2004 for $400 million.
PayPal is the main for-profit sponsor, as the online payments company generated $3 million in revenue for Phoenix last season, but CEO Dan Schulman issued a statement saying the company will not seek to renew its partnership with the Suns “if Robert Sarver remains.” involved with the Suns organization, after serving his suspension.’