When it comes to choosing the perfect mascot, colleges, universities, schools, and professional teams decide on the most standout animals or characters that radiate strength and power in teamwork. The job of a mascot is to warm up the crowd and walk around campus and fields while engaging in fun activities. Most athletic teams whether high school or professional, stick to common mascots like tigers, bulldogs, eagles, etc. But a few decided to stray away from the clichéd path and be creative.
However, in the process lost out on an appropriate or satisfactory appearance. Some mascots turned out to be so hideous that they now feature on well-known media platforms and have gained loads of popularity as well as hate. Ranging from frightening to pathetic, here are 10 of the worst, yet oddly popular mascots in the world.
10. Fighting Pickle – University of North Carolina School of Arts
This mascot represents the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and is a masked, French-looking bright green pickle, sporting a blue beret. He first originated when the student body requested the designing team for some sort of representation of the Arts subjects taught at the university. This is the reason why the Fighting Pickle holds a large paintbrush, and a clapper board, and wears a piano patterned belt/tutu. However, it is still unknown why they decided to choose a pickle to represent their art.
The college states that they intended Mr. Pickle to have a unique look but the outcome looked so strange that it was declared the most unconventional college mascot in an online competition with a total of 2800 votes. Despite the bad reviews he’s received, the university decided to keep him as their mascot, even to this date.
9. WuShock – Wichita State University
WuShock or Wu for short is an energetic, yellow, giant stalk of wheat from Wichita State University. For a bundle of wheat, most find it odd that he wears sweatpants and a crewneck, and his facial features have often been compared to an angry Donald Trump. He refers to all students and teammates as ‘shockers’, which is also the name of the school’s athletic teams. The “shock” in his name stands for the process of shocking during wheat harvesting which is a very common practice in Kansas.
Traditionally, shocking used to be the vocation of the majority of the students. They were known to work on a nearby wheat field when they weren’t in college. Wu has been the proud mascot of WSU since 1948 and after his introduction, he gained so much popularity, that even Jimmy Fallon mentioned him in a joke on an episode of ‘The Tonight Show’.
8. Artie the Artichoke – Scottsdale Community College
This vegetable-inspired mascot has been Scottsdale Community College’s official mascot since 1972, and as the name suggests, is an artichoke. He is said to look more like a “kids cartoon” rather than someone supposed to spread cheer or pride. Artie came to life when students voted on him as a joke, in protest of most of the school’s budget being used for sports rather than academics. The students purposely wanted the representation of the school team to be “lame”. But Artie, the jolly vegetable very soon became a lovable character and a favorite among fans.
Despite the obvious problem that a vegetable has nothing to do with sports, Artie was hated only because of his childlike looks. People say he should’ve been more appropriate for college students and not for kindergarten birthday parties. Even so, this outcome of random teen rebellion got a chance to meet the famous NFL player Patrick Peterson from the Arizona Cardinals American football team.
7. Keggy the Keg – Dartmouth College
As the name suggests, Keggy is a Keg of beer, who was shockingly approved to be the mascot of a college as prestigious as Dartmouth. Most institutes would go to any measures to cease such gatherings or keg parties to minimize parent concern, but Dartmouth claims to embrace such activity. Keggy is a huge silver keg with a smiling face and when introduced, was loved by all students. However, he was soon banned from home games on the grounds of inappropriate behavior that listing schools or parents did not approve of.
He rose from the ashes again 5 years later and is now the unofficial mascot who makes appearances at events where no parents or outsiders are involved. Keggy was recognized all over the media, including a mention on ESPN and being referred to in Playboy Magazine as “some stupid beer thing”.
6. The Fighting Okra – Delta State University
Following a physical altercation, the Delta State University’s official Statesmen mascot was temporarily suspended. As a replacement, the Fighting Okra won a student vote to be the college’s unofficial mascot. He is a grim-faced large Okra, wearing dull boxing gloves. The students and team players believe the Fighting Okra is more fierce and frightening than their Statesmen mascot and looks better with the team and cheer squad to visiting athletic teams. It was originally the baseball and basketball players who decided their interim mascot needed to be more “mean and green”.
But in doing so, they caused their University to be known most commonly for its weird Okra mascot and found themselves on many “worst mascots” lists. But the articles didn’t faze them, and they continued to occasionally bring Fighting Okra out onto the field again.
5. Stanford Tree – Stanford University
Stanford has been commonly known for its beautiful redwoods in the area, which gave reason to the University’s band to select a tree as their unofficial mascot. The Stanford Tree also appears as the institute’s logo and has often put on a show at athletic events that involve the band since 1975. The costume which was formerly introduced by Christine Hutson, comprised of a tree with huge eyes and what people say is red lipstick on his lips.
But the role of the Stanford Tree is taken so seriously that every year an audition is held to see who can fit his shoes best. Some students even take it upon themselves to create their own Stanford Tree costume and sport it around campus for big school events. The Tree gained most of its popularity from “worst mascots” lists in America.
4. Weezy the Boll Weevil – University of Arkansas
What is often mistaken as an alien, the University of Arkansas’ Weezy is a boll weevil insect that feeds on flowers. The green wooly-skinned mascot wears a jersey and has a long droopy nose and two long antennas. He is often seen with his supporting character “Blossom” who is a flower he feeds off of.
As inappropriate as that sounds, many people wait for the opportunity or an opening available to be Weezy or Blossom, because the selected student is given a generous scholarship in exchange. Weezy’s team the “Boll Weevils” was recently ranked the No.1 funniest team name by Deseret News and was No.19 on the 2011 list of worst mascots.
3. Battling Bishop – North Carolina Wesleyan College
The Battling Bishop athletes from North Carolina Wesleyan College, are represented by a bishop in a full-length red robe and black waistband and have been their mascot since 1925. Mr. Bishop received a makeover in 2010 when his encouraging smile was replaced by an angry frown which most students felt looked too serious and stern for a sports mascot.
It has also been mentioned on most media platforms that a bishop is a very odd symbol for sports teams, hence Mr. Bishop is only recognized in negative conversations. However, NCWC refuses to change its mascot since the school has explained that they have an important history involving bishops who rode horses, which is what inspired them to choose Mr. Bishop.
2. Speedy the Geoduck – Evergreen State College
A Geoduck is a large slimy mud-burrowing mollusk found on the west coast of North America where it is sold to be eaten raw and weighs over two pounds. Speedy, when first designed by Evergreen State College, looked like an alien with a shocked visage, adorned in a taco shell and shorts. The college stated they wanted a mascot different from other typical and aggressive mascots and Speedy represented their essence or college motto, which is to be willing to “dig deep for what one wants to achieve”.
Over the years Speedy has received many makeovers, from looking like a “bamboozled pickle taco” to a very literal real-life-looking geoduck that has been labeled “disgusting”, to the newest and most loved mascot, which looks like a warm approachable turtle. Speedy is considered famous and has been mentioned in Time Magazine, on Fox Sports, BuzzFeed, the Huffington Post, and many other media platforms.
1. King Cake Baby – New Orleans Pelicans
This mascot has sent shivers down the spines of children as well as adults due to its appearance, which has several times been referred to as “nightmare material”. King Cake Baby is a crown-wearing, giant-sized baby in diapers that don’t fit, with an “I Love Baby Cake” bib around his neck. King cake traditionally, is a donut-shaped cake within which bakers would hide a little plastic baby and whoever found it in their piece of cake was considered to receive good luck and blessings or sometimes even considered a pregnancy prediction.
But how a king baby cake fits the needs of the NBA New Orleans’s Pelicans team is a question no one has been able to answer. He has been named the most grotesque and disturbing mascot by innumerable articles. Pierre the Pelican is the official mascot of the New Orleans team but when King Cake Baby makes occasional appearances close to the Mardi Gras festival in the USA, his impact unsettles everyone on and off the basketball court.