Staff and Wire Reports
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma City Thunder's new mascot, Rumble the Bison, made his debut Tuesday night during the halftime show.
NEWS 9's Toby Rowland broke the news of the mascot and his name, but Thunder fans had to wait until the Thunder's matchup with the Hornets for the formal announcement.
Rumble missed his inaugural dunk off a pass from a member of the dunk team and fell onto padding laid out under the basket.
He recovered and joined the Thunder Girls for a choreographed dance routine at midcourt before climbing to the top of a 16-foot ladder with a sign reading GET LOUD!
He then did a backflip from the top of the ladder, but again missed the dunk.
According to Thunder officials, Rumble helped save the rest of his herd of bison during a ferocious storm before he was stranded alone in the Arbuckle Mountains and was struck by a bolt of lightning that gave him added strength and agility.
Rumble is using his talent to entertain the audience on gamedays, following in the footsteps of Hugo the Hornet, who got fans excited while New Orleans was here temporarily after Hurricane Katrina.
The Thunder went on to lose to the Hornets, 100-98.
Coming off an All-Star weekend to remember, Kevin Durant scored a career-high 47 points and nailed a fallaway 3-pointer from the right wing to tie the game with 13.8 seconds to play. But that left Chris Paul time for the winner in the arena the Hornets called home for two seasons after Hurricane Katrina.
David West led the Hornets with 37 points and 13 rebounds, while Paul finished with 21 points and eight assists.
The game was played hours after New Orleans traded starting center Tyson Chandler to the Thunder for Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox, plus second-round pick DeVon Hardin.