Catching Up with All-Star Weekend’s Mascot Babysitter

By Daniel Comer
Medill Reports

LOS ANGELES – Several recognizable team mascots have entertained spectators throughout NBA All-Star Weekend, but who is the middle-aged man wearing 10 credentials and chasing them from event to event?

That would be Dominic Davila, 46, who is known in NBA circles as the mascot babysitter this weekend, a designation that doesn’t veer far from his official title of “mascot coordinator” with the Houston Rockets.

“The most difficult part about my job is getting grown men dressed,” Davila said. “It’s like dealing with a bunch of big babies on a candy rush.”

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Davila posing with his hometown Houston mascot, Clutch the Bear. (Daniel Comer/MEDILL)

The NBA invited Davila to lead mascots at his fifth All-Star Weekend, where his duties have included producing rehearsals, getting mascots to events on time, keeping them from being tackled by fans and hydrating the humans behind the masks.

Despite the logistical aspects of his role, Davila said his most important job this weekend is to let the mascots showcase their creativity and be themselves.

“These guys have already either been a mascot at the collegiate level or in the pros,” Davila said. “We’ve got some veterans here. I’ve been doing this 17 years and you can always be learning new stuff from the guys. They can teach the old dog new tricks.”

A background in marketing led Davila to his role with the Rockets, where his day-to-day duties are a bit more comprehensive than they are this weekend.

In addition to game-day preparation such as building, cleaning and repairing props, Davila helps generate skit ideas for social media videos and is the year-round contact person for booking the Rockets’ mascot, Clutch.

Davila’s duties are not limited to behind-the-scenes work, however. At every Houston home game, he serves as a sidekick to Clutch during in-game performances.

“That’s always a good time,” Davila said. “We did a birthday party for Clutch three years ago at the Toyota Center, and I forgot to put my shorts on over my compression shorts before the dunk contest. I went out there topless and in compression shorts.”

Davila said he has not had to discipline any mascots this weekend or been involved in any serious issues before, but did mention a Houston mascot mishap that took place before he was employed with the organization.

Security escorting Clippers mascot Chuck the Condor to the exit. (Daniel Comer/MEDILL)

“Years before I was on board, Clutch shot Cuttino Mobley with a T-shirt cannon,” he said.

“Needless to say, they were not allowed to use the cannon for a while.”

Photo at top: Davila posing with mascots at All-Star Jr. NBA Day. (Daniel Comer/MEDILL)