- It's down to T minus 10 names in the search for a moniker for Toronto's new NBA expansion team. And animals rule, okay?
- With a nationwide vote set to begin tomorrow and running until April 29 at Sears stores and Cineplex Odeon theatres, franchise officials yesterday unveiled the final 10 culled by a judging panel from a list of 189 compiled in polls done by Canadian media outlets.
- The top three vote-getters will then go to officials who, along with NBA Properties, will select the winning name and logo next month.
- Yesterday's media gathering wasn't about sport, but centred on what sport has become in the 1990s: a corporate vehicle, the emphasis on licensing and merchandising reflected in the NBA's numbers. More than 120 NBA licensees will tally retail sales of $2.8 billion worldwide in 1993-94.
- "(The NBA) has captured the minds and hearts of young people more than any other professional sports league," Toronto team president John Bitove Jr. said. "We intend to do the same thing in Canada. Our hope is that we create a name that sells worldwide."
- That might be difficult, if baseball offers a workable example. The Blue Jays, despite winning back-to-back World Series, aren't among baseball's top 10 in merchandising. The Expos, Canada's other team, are either at or near the bottom.
- The wild kingdom that is the final 10: Beavers:
- The Canadian nickel, with this animal's picture on it, isn't worth much any more. Headline: Dam Beavers! Bobcats:
- Indigenous roots, but what about the beer of the same name, or the Brandon University B-cats? Headline: Cats Cough Up Furball.
- Does this mean Bilbo Baggins is the mascot and the new arena is named Middle Earth? Headline: Blowing Hot and Cold.
- Another with a beer conflict. Headline: Grin and Bear It.
- Radio exec Allan Slaight is part-owner of the team, and the Toronto station that goes by this name isn't part of Slaight's empire. Headline: Chop Soo-ey!!! It's Hog Day Afternoon.
- First half of hugely popular dino double on this list, these are the cuddly disembowelers of Jurassic Park fame. New minor league ball team in Ogden, Utah, has this name. Headline: Raptor Rapture.
- Another indigenous animal to Toronto, eh? Headline: Stingers Lack Venom in Debut.
- No. 2 dinosaur name has great mascot potential. Don't smirk, these matters are being keenly debated in "focus groups" here and in New York. Headline: These Lizards Really Terrible.
- Try to say Toronto Tarantulas three times quickly without spitting on your neighbor. Headline: Hairy and Scary.
- Yappy dogs. Not exactly a strong image. Headline: Barking Up the Wrong Tree Rollins.
- Caption: STAR COLOR PHOTO (Mahler): Local basketball players use an appropriate method to show off the final 10 contenders in the hunt for Toronto's NBA nickname.
Toronto Star April 12th 1994
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