What recession? Budget cuts didn't scare away this hardy group of conventioneers. In fact, it was a slam dunk that they'd be in Las Vegas, and they're still doing back flips.
The NBA Mascot Conference is being held this week at the Hard Rock Hotel, and the joint is jumping.
About 30 mascots are participating in a wide range of topics, from skits, stunts and career management to watching their highlight films
In case you ever wondered what wholesome mascots do in Sin City, Stuff the Magic Dragon, the Orlando Magic's mascot, answered that question. He was tweeting up a storm Tuesday on his Twitter site.
Slamson the Lion, the Sacramento Kings mascot, advised his peers about investing.
"Who would think mascots think of such things?" wrote Stuff.
Rumble the Bison, the Oklahoma City Thunder mascot, was using Twitter and other social media. Rumble apparently rambled.
"Has a lot to share," said Stuff, adding a snarky aside, "Waaayyyy over his time."
A Harlem Globetrotters rep shared "how to use their players when they come to town."
Pistons mascot Hooper talks about school programs.
"I don't like the Pistons," sniffed Stuff, "but Hooper is cool."
Phoenix Suns mascot Go-Rilla demonstrated why he is "the Godfather of tramp dunks," added Stuff.
The mascots attended Wayne Brady's show en masse on Sunday at The Venetian. They were not in costume, which is too bad because that would have been a classic crowd shot.
My favorite mascot moment involving Las Vegas? The night Montana's dancing bear took on Irish Elvis.
In January 2003, on his way to the Super Bowl in San Diego, University of Montana Grizzlies mascot Monte the Grizzly went to "Legends in Concert" at the Imperial Palace and brought the house down in a battle of pelvic thrusts onstage with Elvis Presley impersonator Graham Patrick.
Monte, who grew up in my hometown of Terry, Mont., went on to become two-time national collegiate mascot of the year and has been Benny the Bull for the Chicago Bulls for about five seasons.
BILL'S EARLY-BIRD BIRTHDAY
That rumored Bill Clinton birthday dinner I mentioned on Sunday took place Monday night.
About 60 of Clinton's pals, including former members of his Cabinet, dined in a private room at Craftsteak.
The group included Terry McAuliffe, former head of the Democratic National Committee; Paul Begala, former senior adviser for Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign; former White House chief of staff John Podesta, media mogul Steve Bing, who provided the private plane for Clinton to go to North Korea and negotiate the release of hostages Laura Ling and Euna Lee; and Jay Carson, Clinton's former White House communications director.
Entrees included chicken, salmon, ribeye steak and french fries.
"He was especially fond of the french fries," a spy said.
No cake was served. It was the second year in a row that he held an early birthday party at Craftsteak.
Clinton turns 63 on Aug. 19.
THE SCENE AND HEARD
Comedian and actor Dane Cook, "Entourage" regular Jerry Ferrara, NHL great Chris Chelios, and Rob Riggle of "The Daily Show" will be joining Jeremy Piven and Will Ferrell on the red carpet, starting at 6:30 p.m., for the Las Vegas premiere of "The Goods" at Planet Hollywood Resort.
Charo, greeting one of her biggest fans in Japan after Sunday's show at the Riviera. The very enthusiastic admirer has put a lot of effort into bearing an uncanny resemblance to Charo, even dressing the same. Also there: Flamingo headliner Nathan Burton. ... Clinton, having lunch Tuesday on the Spago patio at the Forum Shops at Caesars.
THE PUNCH LINE
"Big 'American Idol' news: Paula Abdul's not returning as a judge. That's crazy. To leave a top-rated show like that, you'd have to be high." -- Craig Ferguson