With the NBA lockout predicted to last the entire season, players have had to make adjustments to their lives including spending habits, training grounds and even playing overseas in some cases. But while most players have money to fall back on, the mascots are expected to have a rather rough go of it. Benny the Bull is no exception. The lockout has hit the big red guy pretty hard in the wallet, and he was forced to gain employment elsewhere for its duration, finding a job at a McDonalds near the United Center.

“I feel so bad for the guy,” said Derrick Rose, who along with several of the Bulls players, eat at that McDonald’s at least once a week to cheer up their beloved mascot. “He’s always there for us when we need a lift, so I think it’s only right that we should return the favor.”

With the way things are going, Benny could use all the support he can get. His managers have received several complaints from customers about red fur being found in the Big Macs. He has since been taken off of the food line and relegated to cashier duty.

He’s also had issues with several co-workers, most notably, Ronald McDonald. Benny frequently argues with Ronald about who’s the better mascot. It’s gotten so bad that they were both once sent home early after a shoving match turned into an all-out brawl in the balls in the playroom.

“You think you’re better than me, Ronald?” Benny reportedly screamed as he was escorted out of the restaurant. “You can make balloon animals, but can you dunk? I didn’t think so!”

Indeed, times are tough for Benny. He’s been seen at several of Chicago’s drinking establishments, drowning his sorrows with a few beers, desperate to get back to his glory days as the mascot of the Bulls.

“He comes in and orders a beer and a whiskey and just talks for hours about how he misses the spotlight, entertaining the fans, and the interaction with the Luvabulls,” said Mitch McDonnell, a bartender at Beer Bistro in the Near West Side. “And it’s only gotten worse since he started flipping burgers at McDonalds.”

Images by Kurt Evans and Pat Lamorte

Michael Kloempken