When the Bulls were desperate to find ways to get butts in the seats 50 years ago, new general manager Pat Williams had an idea. They created a new mascot, Benny, who would pal around Chicago Stadium wearing an ill-fitting suit and a papier-mache head that vaguely resembled the large mammal.
If you saw Benny in 1969, you might not have expected what would happen next. Over the next five decades, Benny The Bull emerged as one of the most recognizable mascots in all of sports.
His image, like those of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Phil Jackson, became synonymous with the franchise. It’s hard to imagine a Bulls game that doesn’t involve his goofy face popping up on the Jumbotron at least a few times.
Gritty might be gaining quickly in the most famous mascot category, but Benny has been a trail blazer and pioneer in knucklehead antics from an oversized, fluffy monster.
So to celebrate Benny’s 50th birthday, let’s look back at some of his hottest looks from over the years. Like many others who maintained pop culture relevance for decades, reinvention has been a must.
Green Elvis Benny
Taking a cue from the Chicago River, Benny dyed himself green for St. Patrick’s Day. Combining it with an Elvis look … I mean, sure, why not.
Classy Christmas Benny
“It’s not gonna have a big, fat, gross Santa Claus. It’s gonna be cool, sleek Santa.” – Michael Scott
Hot Pink Benny
For breast cancer awareness night, Benny rocked an all-pink look with tight, pink leopard shorts.
Benny’s Day Off
Ferris Bueller would be proud.
Cool Tuxedo Benny
The name is Bull. Benny the Bull. **sips from a massive curly straw popping out of a Big Gulp**
Crazy Eyes Benny
Listen, the 80s were a wild time for everyone.
Here’s Benny with his Large Mascot Son, Benny Jr.
High-flying Santa Benny
Who needs reindeer and a sleigh when you fly yourself?
The “What are you all looking at me like that for?” vibe to this photo is very good. Benny rarely looks so confused.
There have been a lot of great times with Benny The Bull over the last 50 years. Here’s to hoping we get many more costumes in the future.