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Utah Jazz Fire Bear Mascot Performer Before Home Opener

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MAY 8: The Utah Jazz mascot, Jazz Bear, during the Jazz game against the Golden State Warriors in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Vivint Smart Home Arena on May 8, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Just as fans were gearing up for the Utah Jazz home opener, news dropped that the performer who’s been bringing the Jazz Bear to life since 1994 was fired.

Jon Absey has been the athlete behind the mascot since the mascot’s inception more than two-and-a-half decades ago. Information as to why Asbey had been fired was not made available.

“Jazz Bear will continue to be one of the most iconic mascots in the NBA,” said Jazz spokesomn Frank Zang. “Out of respect for his character, which is separate from any employee ever associated with it, we have never discussed his identity. We do not discuss individual personnel matters.

Zang said the Jazz Bear will be at the home opener to entertain the crowds and support the team, but he wouldn’t say if it would be Absey.

Social media was not happy

Although some people were here for the drama

For others, ignorance was bliss

Many made jokes

Others shared memories

But mostly fans were sad

We’ll have to see if the replacement is as good as the original. We’ll keep our heads held high in solidarity as the Jazz face off against the Warriors.