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Houston Lifestyles & Homes September 2009
Clutch promotes Go Green—Enviromental Awareness Month in March with Houston Rockets’ point gaurd, Aaron Brooks.
CLUTCH The Rockets Bear Keeps Fans Entertained Year Around
Huggy bear’s philosophy: SMILES
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Clutch leads fans to “Get Red” for the 2009 NBA Playoffs.
Who of us would proudly claim the position “Professional Idiot” as our career of choice or brag about the number of cans of silly string we use in the course of a year?
Only one character in Houston has this distinction. He’s Houston's Own CLUTCH The Rockets Bear, better known to his fans simply as Clutch. This 6-foot 8-inch fur ball with a 92-inch waist claims to be only 14 years old, but he ’s coming up on his 15th season with the Rockets, so, go figure.
With his imaginative skits and mischievous antics, Clutch personifies entertainment at its best. Always up for a good time, Clutch performs his hilarious hi-jinks everywhere —from his favorite balcony at Toyota Center, at his yearly birthday party, at the annual NBA All Star Game and in front of thousands of Rockets fans at home and away. He ’s never missed a home game.
For someone who’s only 14, Clutch is very accomplished. He makes approximately 300 personal appearances a year. He ’s written four children’s books. He helped establish the
education. He dislikes: the opposite of his likes. His favorite foods are honey and OPP (other people's popcorn), and his favorite colors are red and silver. (Of course.)
Clutch’s philosophy on life boils down to one word: SMILES, which stands for:
S—Stuffed animal who everyone wants to hug,
M—Marketing the Rockets all over the place all the time,
I—Inspiring the Rockets and their fans to victory,
L—Laughter is most important,
E—Educating youth to make intelligent future oriented decisions, and
S—Stunts that amaze.
Because Clutch is passionate about helping youth, approximately 100 of his annual Houston area appearances are at elementary schools.
The Rockets organization, in partnership with Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, has released four children’s story books revolving around Clutch’s experiences at
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Mascot Hall of Fame to recognize other Professional Idiots—or mascots, as they prefer to be called—who have been performing for 10 years or longer. He trains and mentors mascots at the high school, collegiate and professional levels through summer camps and private coaching sessions. He performs live before 1 million fans each year, and he ’s the Rockets’ biggest (literally) fan.
He was named the fifth most recognizable mascot in sports by USA Today in February 2005. That same year, he was elected by his fellow mascots as the inaugural “NBA Mascot of the Year,” the ninth year of the NBA Mascot Conference, but the first year the award was presented.
This mostly-gray furred, but sometimes red (for the playoffs) or green (for go-green), huggy bear has definite likes and dislikes. He likes: Rockets basketball, sleeping/hibernating, playing, hugs, practical jokes, laughing, excitement and
Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. All four books were written by Robert Boudwin, Clutch ’s best friend/ alter-ego. Boudwin keeps a low profile to protect Clutch’s mystique. But, this business major turned team mascot says playing Clutch gives him “a chance to be a knucklehead, to run around and act silly.” A job he does exceptionally well.
The children’s books are on sale in the Rockets Team Shop or on line at Rocketsshop.com. More than 60,000 copies have been given out to children across the city at Clutch ’s school programs and at Memorial Hermann hospitals.
Visit Clutch at www.rockets.com. To schedule Clutch for an event, call his trainer, Dominic Davila, at 713- 758-7347. Clutch also Twitters. Find him at http://twitter.com/clutchthebear.
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