Phoenix Suns Gorilla marks 35 years as team’s mascot

Jan 21, 2015, 2:39 PM | Updated: 2:40 pm

PHOENIX — In 1980, a guy dressed in a gorilla suit showed up at a Phoenix Suns game to deliver a singing telegram to a fan who was celebrating a birthday.

He was such a big hit the team made the Gorilla its official mascot. It’s been that way ever since.

“For 35 years, he has been the focal point in our games, and a big focal point in our community as well,” Suns President Jason Rowley said.

Rowley said the Gorilla does about 400 appearances per year, in addition to being at all 41 home games.

The Suns are throwing their Gorilla a birthday party during Wednesday night’s game against the Portland Trailblazers.

Rowley said a lot of other mascots will be joining in the fun.

“Big Red is coming over from the Cardinals, Baxter from the Diamondbacks, Jazz the Bear from the Utah Jazz, Stuff the Magic Dragon from the Orlando Magic and the Raptor from the Toronto Raptors,” he said, adding Howler from the Arizona Coyotes and Scorch from the Phoenix Mercury will also be there.

“It will be a good time during the game,” Rowley said.

The first 10,000 fans inside U.S. Airways center on Wednesday night will receive a free Gorilla magnet.

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Phoenix Suns Gorilla marks 35 years as team’s mascot