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Rumble the Bison: Thunder mascot's act smashing

By Mike Baldwin Modified: February 18, 2009 at 10:31 am •  Published: February 18, 2009
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Lowered from the Ford Center ceiling like a rock star, Rumble the Bison, the Thunder’s new mascot, made a smashing debut Tuesday night despite missing both dunks.

Rumble played the drums, performed with the trampoline dunk team, danced with the Thunder Girls and closed his halftime act by climbing a 16-foot ladder. Rumble stood on the top rung, then back-flipped. The dunk rimmed out, but his athleticism was evident.

He declined to give his true identity, but the person inside the costume has served as a mascot for more than a decade. He once water skied in costume and roller bladed up a four-story ramp, successfully jumping over cars like Evel Knievel.

Rumble’s story is fictitious, but the Native American tale concocted represents Oklahoma’s history.

A near-sellout crowd was told at halftime Rumble is a bison that hundreds of years ago led his herd to safety only to be trapped alone in a storm atop the Arbuckle Mountains. The story claims Rumble was struck by lightning and suddenly walked on two legs like a man.

According to campfire legend, Rumble possesses amazing strength and agility but felt alone until NBA players with similar athletic skills arrived in the Ford Center hundreds of years later.