Dear Blaze,

Happy birthday! Gosh, you have to be, what, 12 years old now? Time sure does fly when you're having fun, running around the Moda Center, shooting Silly String at unsuspecting fans, firing oversize T-shirts into the rafters, and surviving on a diet of free chalupas and whatever leftover stale popcorn and cheap vodka Mike Rice doesn't finish in the media room. Despite what the haters say, you're not a bad mascot—I've seen you do some pretty sick dunks off that trampoline a few times—but that doesn't mean we don't have a few questions.

First off, what in the holy name of the Phillie Phanatic is a Trail Cat? Team lore says you tumbled out of the wilds of the Cascades looking to find your way in this world, but honestly, you look more like a stoned coyote than a proper feline.  

Sorry, I got off topic a bit. Your birthday is an annual tradition where all your mascot friends from around the NBA fly into PDX for a creepy, furry convention/halftime birthday party. Well, I have some advice for you on your big day.

—Stay close to Robin Lopez. He already beat the horseshit out of the Detroit Pistons' mascot, Hooper. He also has beef with the Raptor. If someone tries to pants you, sic big Robin on 'em.

—AVOID PIERRE THE PELICAN AT ALL COSTS. Don't let his recent makeover fool you: He's a cold-blooded killer. His recent surgery makes him look like Alf with a giant dong for a nose. He is not your friend.

—If you want to be one of the cool kids, don't sit next to Benny Beaver on the bus. Everybody knows that he's just a crappy version of everyone's favorite Benny, Benny the Bull. Now that dude gets a lot of tail. Get it?

—Smile every once in a while! Oh wait, you're a mascot. My bad.

Seriously, though, I hope you have an amazing day. I got one of the Blazers Dancer's phone numbers for you as a gift. Maybe take her across the street to Windows or something? If it doesn't work out, there's always Fuzzr, the dating app for mascots. 


Michael Mannheimer

GO: Blaze's birthday will be celebrated at Moda Center, 1 N Center Court St., on Sunday, Feb. 23, when the Blazers play the Minnesota Timberwolves. 6 pm. $22-$160.