Atlanta Hawks Game Delayed By Actual Hawk: Video
Live mascots are great, especially when they can’t be controlled.
During the 1st quarter of the NBA playoff game between the Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat, the Hawks’ mascot, Spirit the Hawk, flew around, settling on one of the baskets. Play continued for a bit, but was eventually stopped.
Henry Abbott over at Truehoop provides the best account, complete with vigorous ball-slapping:
NBA referees might stop a game for a bald eagle or an osprey. But this was a Harris Hawk. Game on.
Spirit stayed put for one play. But after James Jones drained a 3, and the action moved to the other end, Spirit moved the length of the court to take a closer look.
And that’s when the trouble really started, with 8:48 left in the quarter. Referee Danny Crawford wanted to be tossing up a jumpball, but instead was suddenly faced with players worrying over a real live hawk perched directly on the backboard — a high-arcing baseline jumper might well brush his beak.
Crawford must be a dad, because he did what any reasonable dad would do — tried to look like he was dealing with it. He approached the bird somewhat gingerly, making eye contact all the way. Then, to ensure the safety of all, he somewhat vigorously slapped the ball with his own hand. Once. And then again. All the while, he studied the hawk for a reaction. I can only imagine he was testing — to determine character. Was it a stable bird — or one that would attack after, say, a ball-slapping?
The hawk eventually flew back to its trainer and play resumed. The Hawks wish the bird had stayed, as they lost to the Heat, 108-93.
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