Today, Ball in Europe will start a series about actors of European basketball that are not that well known. We will take here about those people that make the European basketball what it is, but mostly don’t get the same credit than do get the coaches or the players. To summarize, we will talk here about those people, the common fan probably does not know.
We start our series with a mascot, and in my opinion one of the best one’s in Europe: Fabius from Giessen in Germany. I spoke to the red dragon that is known for his acrobatic stunts and funny moves in his hometown and who is also one of the main attractions every year during the German All-Star Day.
Hey Fabius, can you tell us a bit your own history and what you role is with the LTi Giessen 46ers?
I am now already the third mascot in Giessen since September 2000. The first one was a tiger, the Avitos Tiger, which lasted actually 3 seasons. After Avitos left the team as their main sponsor, the team needed a new name and a new mascot. The choice has been made for a lion that figured under the name King. This was during 2 seasons. As a sponsor wanted to increase its partnership, they also wanted to have a new mascot and this was the birth of Fabius the Dragon. Since then, Fabius is the energetic, lovely, incalculable, funny, acrobatic and crazy dragon during the home games. This is a lot of fun for me and the public loves Fabius luckily too.
Where do you get your inspiration for your role? Do you "scout" other BBL or NBA mascots?
I am taking my job very serious. I try to entertain the audience and that’s why I am always imaging new ideas. I know that it is difficult to surprise the home crowd with new shows but sometimes even that works out. I have never orientated myself on other mascots, I always wanted to have my own style. I really work hard for it but the spectators give a good feeling with their applause and then I see that I am doing it the right way.
As Fabius is only one of the figures you play, do you do your job as mascot only in a professional way or is there a personal reason why you are working as mascot for Giessen?
I play my role as Fabius always with a lot of physical effort und I am normally totally exhausted the day after. I am one of the craziest Giessen fans, always close to the court, always dressed up, everybody knows me and as sweaty as the players. In other words, I am a fan with a professional background – a pro fan…
What is the relationship between the different mascots? Is there some competition? Or are there like meetings to share ideas?
The Mascots meet in general only once a year at the German All-Star Day. 4 mascots also meet at the Cup Final 4 event and everybody does what he wants to do. I did not experience any kind of competition so far, sometimes I feel that some other mascot feel a bit insecure as I always bring a lot of additional tools to the games and because I like to pose and make a big show of myself.
At the All-Star day in Mannheim, you made some crazy and spectacular stunts. How much do you practice?
As I already said, I am doing the mascot now for 8 years and I have a lot of experience. I don’t work as a mascot only, my main project is ichmael (more on that here: www.ichmael.de), where I am a clown and different kind of comedy persons. I have about 180 shows a year, which means I don’t have a lot of time to practice.
Does exist some kind of Star or Idol like Michael Jordan or Dirk Nowitzki in the mascot business? Or does Fabius has a mascot he really likes and tries to get as good as?
I don’t have a mascot idol. Only in my head, I have an idea of the perfect mascot.