Milwaukee Bucks mascot
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The Official NBA Playoff Power Rankings, Based on Which Mascots I Could Beat in a Fist Fight

The only power ranking that matters

The NBA playoffs are underway, and folks are already wondering who’s going to come out on top this year. Will the Celtics finally live up to their playoff potential? Will the Nuggets two-peat? And is “the Joker” really the best (white) basketball player of all time?

Those are all valid questions. But amidst the speculation, there’s one important question nobody has attempted to answer: If I, Carlos Greaves, had to throw hands against each mascot—play-in teams included—who would win?

Related: We Ranked Every NBA Team Based on Their Hairstyles

This might be a query that you have never thought before. But now, I'm willing to bet* you can't unthink it. So without further ado, here’s the NBA playoff power ranking you didn’t know you needed, based on each team mascot’s ability to square up.

*Because I'm a betting man, I've included odds for each matchup. Someone get Draftkings on the phone!



Atlanta Hawks (10th seed): Although I’d definitely get some nasty scratches, I feel pretty confident I could take down a five-pound bird. Tony Hawk might be a different story. But at least he would appreciate the hesitation. (Odds: -275)

New York Knicks (2nd seed): The Knicks have arguably the worst mascot in sports. Knickerbockers? Also known as a pair of pants? Yeah, I could beat up a pair of pants—just by, like, wearing them for a while. And sure, technically “Knickerbockers” also refers to the Dutch colonists who wore those pants. But I could definitely kick the crap out of a Dutch colonist. With pleasure and ease. Those people didn’t even know how to grow corn, or that you shouldn’t s**t in the same river you drink water from. Easy win. (Odds: -750)


Boston Celtics (1st seed): As far as I can tell, the Celtics' mascot is a leprechaun with a pimp cane. So, assuming he didn’t pull any shenanigans, I’m pretty sure I could take him. Unless, of course, the fight took place in Boston. Because if so, as soon as the fight started, a hundred dudes from Southie would immediately jump in and pummel my Black ass. I guess that’s why the C’s are so good at TD Garden but choke on the road. (Odds: -150)

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Orlando Magic (5th seed): This one hinges on the kind of magic. Mickey Mouse in Fantasia magic? Yeah, I’m not afraid of a self-sweeping broom. But some Gandalf “you shall not pass” level sorcery? That’s a whole other animal. (Odds: +125)

Philadelphia 76ers (7th seed): Are we talking about the concept of American civil liberty? Because that seems to be taking plenty of L’s already without any help from me. But if we’re talking the actual, physical Liberty Bell, that’s gonna be a no for me. Not even Rocky would dare try to punch that thing, crack or no crack. (Odds: +100)


Cleveland Cavaliers (4th seed): Not gonna lie, a 17th-century knight would be tough to beat. They spent all day kicking the crap out of each other for fun because they didn’t have Instagram back then. I might have to play dirty—pull out my iPhone and convince them I’m God. (Odds: +300)

Milwaukee Bucks (3rd seed): This one all comes down to the rules of the fight. If the buck has to fight like a person, standing on its back legs and punching with its front legs, I might have a shot. But if antlers are in play, I’m cooked. (Odds: +225)


Chicago Bulls (9th seed): Do I look like some kind of matador? I absolutely could not beat up a whole-ass bull. And the bull on the Bulls logo? That guy looks MAD AS HELL. I couldn’t go toe-to-toe with that thing any more than I could go one-on-one against 90’s Jordan. (Odds: +1800)

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Indiana Pacers (6th seed): Let’s first acknowledge that “Pacers” is a terrible name for a team. A pace car is the car that drives around the track slowly before the start of a race—that doesn’t exactly strike fear in the hearts of potential rivals. That said, could I beat up a car with my fists? No. So, per the rules of this power ranking, they’re definitely near the top. (Odds: +1600)

Miami Heat (8th seed): As anyone who has ever been to Miami knows, it’s impossible to beat the heat. That place is Swamp Ass City. (Odds: +1400)



Denver Nuggets (2nd seed): This is an easy win because A) a gold nugget cannot fight back and B) 24-karat gold is actually very soft and malleable, which is why nobody makes jewelry out of pure gold. Somebody please tell Bruno Mars he’s got it twisted. (Odds: -800)

New Orleans Pelicans (7th seed): Yes, I could beat up a pelican. Why do so many sports teams have birds as mascots? Birds are terrible mascots. Next. (Odds: -400)

Oklahoma City Thunder (1st seed): The key word here is “thunder.” Not “lightning.” Thunder. As in, just a bunch of sound. Wear some noise canceling headphones and it’s game over. Do better, OKC.  (Odds: -900)

Toss up

Sacramento Kings (9th seed): This one really depends on the king. Joffrey Baratheon? I’d pound his sorry ass into the dirt. King T'Challa on the other hand? He would beat me to within an inch of my life in two minutes and dangle me over that Wakandan waterfall until I surrendered. (Odds: -250)


Dallas Mavericks (5th seed): I don’t think I could win this fight. And even if I could, do you have any idea how many white women would be calling for my immediate execution for punching a horse? (Odds: +190)

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Golden State Warriors (10th seed): Just like the Cavs, my only chance here is to play dirty. Time to blast some Norwegian death metal and pretend to be Satan. (Odds: +550)


Los Angeles Clippers (4th seed): Apparently the name “Clippers” refers to a type of sailboat, and is not, as any logical person would assume, an homage to the Black barbershops of South Central, L.A. Basically, the Clips mascot is a yacht, which has got to be, hands down, the most white people mascot in all of sports. It’s pretty hard to punch a boat, though, so, you know, there’s that. (Odds: +1900)

Los Angeles Lakers (8th seed): Have you ever tried to fight water? It’s impossible. It just gets out of the way. Fela Kuti was right: Water no get enemy. It's been undefeated for 3.8 billion years. And sure, Muhammad Ali might’ve looked badass boxing in that pool, but it’s not like he KO’ed the water. Because you can’t. Point is, L.A. really has tough-to-punch mascots on lock. (Odds: +2200)

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Minnesota Timberwolves (3rd seed): I am sure a lot of men probably (stupidly) believe they’d stand a chance in a fight against a wolf. I am not one of those men. I find border collies a little intimidating. So a full grown wolf? Ain’t no damn way. (Odds: +1850)

Phoenix Suns (6th seed): I absolutely could not win a fist fight against the sun. Are you kidding me? And multiple suns? Fugget about it. (Odds: +9000)