The History And Evolution Of The Los Angeles Lakers Mascot

The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the most iconic franchises in NBA history, renowned for their championships, Hall of Fame players, and memorable mascots that have rallied fans for decades.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The Los Angeles Lakers’ current mascot is King Louis XVIII, a lion character introduced in 2007.

This comprehensive article will trace the lineage of Lakers mascots from the early days in Minneapolis to the various characters that have led cheers in Los Angeles over the years. We’ll examine the background, design, and fan reception of each mascot, culminating in the beloved King Louis XVIII.

Minneapolis Lakers Mascots (1947-1960)

Origins and Minneapolis Roots

The history of the Los Angeles Lakers organization can be traced back to their early days in Minneapolis. The team was originally founded in 1947 as the Minneapolis Lakers and played in the National Basketball League (NBL) before joining the Basketball Association of America (BAA), which later became the National Basketball Association (NBA).

During this time, the Lakers established themselves as a successful and popular team in Minneapolis, winning multiple championships and gaining a loyal fanbase.

The team’s name, the Lakers, originated from the state of Minnesota, which is known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.” This name was chosen to reflect the region’s abundance of lakes and water bodies. Despite the team’s eventual move to Los Angeles, the Lakers retained their name as a tribute to their origins.

Early Live Animal Mascots

In the early years of the Minneapolis Lakers, live animal mascots were a common sight at their games. One of the most famous mascots during this period was a seal named “Slamson” who became a beloved figure among Lakers fans.

Slamson was known for his entertaining tricks and stunts during halftime shows, which added an extra element of excitement to the games.

Another notable live mascot was a dog named “Ruffles,” who became a fan favorite for his playful antics on the court. Ruffles would often join the Lakers players during warm-ups and interact with the fans, bringing joy and laughter to everyone in attendance.

These live animal mascots added a unique and memorable touch to the Lakers games in Minneapolis. They not only entertained the fans but also created a sense of camaraderie and connection between the team and its supporters.

As the Lakers organization evolved and eventually relocated to Los Angeles in 1960, the live animal mascots were phased out. However, their legacy and impact on the team’s history remain an important part of the Lakers’ story.

To learn more about the early days of the Minneapolis Lakers and their live animal mascots, you can visit for detailed information and historical photographs.

Los Angeles Mascots Over the Years

Throughout the history of the Los Angeles Lakers, the team has had several mascots that have entertained fans and become beloved symbols of the franchise. From the early years in Minneapolis to the present day in Los Angeles, the Lakers have had a variety of mascots that have brought joy and excitement to fans of all ages.

Arrival in LA – The First Mascot

When the Lakers relocated to Los Angeles in 1960, they brought with them their first official mascot. Known simply as “The Lakers Mascot,” this character was a representation of the team’s name and colors.

With its bold purple and gold costume, the mascot quickly became a fan favorite and was often seen cheering on the team from the sidelines. While the mascot’s appearance may have been simple compared to later iterations, its presence added an extra level of spirit and enthusiasm to Lakers games.

‘Sam the Yell Dude’ (1976-1979)

In the late 1970s, the Lakers introduced a new mascot named Sam the Yell Dude. This mascot was a larger-than-life character with a vibrant personality and a knack for getting fans excited. Sam the Yell Dude would often be seen leading cheers, dancing on the sidelines, and interacting with fans during games.

His energetic and comedic antics made him a fan favorite and a staple at Lakers games during his tenure. While Sam the Yell Dude’s time with the Lakers was relatively short, his impact on the fan experience was significant.

‘Candy Man’ (1988-1990)

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Lakers introduced a mascot named the Candy Man. This mascot, known for his colorful costume and playful demeanor, quickly became a hit with fans. The Candy Man would entertain the crowd with his dance moves, hand out candy to fans, and even participate in halftime shows.

His presence added an extra element of fun and excitement to Lakers games, making him a beloved figure among fans of all ages.

While these are just a few examples, the history of the Los Angeles Lakers mascot is filled with memorable characters who have brought joy and entertainment to fans. Each mascot has played a unique role in enhancing the fan experience and creating lasting memories.

As the franchise continues to evolve, it will be exciting to see what new mascots and traditions emerge to captivate Lakers fans for years to come.

King Louis XVIII: Modern Lakers Mascot (2007-Present)

The Los Angeles Lakers have a rich history when it comes to their mascots, and one of the most beloved and iconic mascots is King Louis XVIII. Introduced in 2007, King Louis XVIII quickly became a fan favorite and has remained a staple of Lakers games ever since.

Character Design and Debut

King Louis XVIII was designed to embody the spirit and energy of the Lakers franchise. With a regal appearance and a crown atop his head, he exudes confidence and represents the team’s winning legacy. His purple and gold attire pays homage to the team’s colors and further solidifies his connection to the Lakers.

The mascot made his debut during a Lakers home game, where he burst onto the court with a grand entrance, captivating the crowd with his charisma and entertaining antics. From that moment on, King Louis XVIII became an integral part of the Lakers game experience.

Reception and Impact on Lakers Culture

The reception to King Louis XVIII was overwhelmingly positive, with fans embracing the mascot and his larger-than-life personality. He quickly became a symbol of Lakers pride and was embraced by fans of all ages.

His presence at games brought an added level of excitement and entertainment, creating unforgettable experiences for fans.

King Louis XVIII’s impact on Lakers culture cannot be overstated. He has become an integral part of the team’s identity and has helped create a strong connection between the franchise and its fans. His infectious energy and playful nature have made him a beloved figure in the Lakers community.

Not only has King Louis XVIII had an impact on fans, but he has also played a role in charitable endeavors. The mascot frequently participates in community events and charity initiatives, using his platform to give back and make a positive difference in the lives of others.

King Louis XVIII’s Legacy

As the Lakers continue to make history on the court, King Louis XVIII’s legacy remains strong. His impact on the franchise and its fans will be remembered for years to come. Whether it’s his memorable entrance or his interactions with fans during games, King Louis XVIII has left an indelible mark on the Lakers organization.

With each passing season, King Louis XVIII continues to bring joy and excitement to Lakers fans. His presence is a reminder of the team’s storied past and the bright future ahead. As the Lakers march on, fans can always count on King Louis XVIII to be there, cheering on the team and representing the Lakers with pride.


From Minneapolis live lions to beloved characters like Sam the Yell Dude, the Los Angeles Lakers have featured memorable mascots through the generations.

The current King Louis XVIII carries on this tradition, energizing Staples Center crowds and representing the Lakers with his iconic purple and gold mane.

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