For Aspiring Performers, The NBA Is The Best Place To Be A Mascot by Jasmine Mithani

This was a goofy piece — it’s not every day a writer has a spreadsheet full of sports mascots to peruse. The article is a deep dive into the history of sports mascots, and the visualization is a little bit of an aside further emphasizing this wild part of fandom.

We went through several edits of categories, loosely pulling from the idea of biological taxonomy (because how can you classify Gritty?). I believe I used the category counts to make a bubble chart with RawGraphs before arranging them in Adobe Illustrator. Our art director scoured photo wires for images of all the mascots, and then cut out the heads with Photoshop wizardry.

The stacked bar charts were done with our in-house chart tool, then refined in Illustrator. The table was made with an in-house tool.

My favorite edit I’ve possibly ever gotten came from this project, when our story editor said that we should re-name a category “cervine” for semantic consistency.