It may have been done as a joke, but not many people laughed.
On Wednesday, Indiana Pacers player David West was getting ready to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers when he decided to unleash a right hook on the Cavaliers mascot, Moondog. The hit sent the mascot to the floor and eventually to the hospital:
Moondog, played by a local radio DJ, was eventually released from the hospital after having no apparent injuries -- save for a a little swelling around his eye. And while at the time no one knew why West cold-cocked the mascot, Sports Illustrated explains what happened:
Moondog was taken to the hospital with an eye injury, but was released after being checked out. The mascot, who often interacts and teases opposing players, got into a mock fight with West during pregame introductions.
The Pacers forward accidentally struck the character in the mask, knocking the mascot to the floor. West was visibly upset following the game and apologized, even sending Moondog a jersey and a pair of basketball shoes.
“He jumped at me so I thought we were playing around and then the next thing I know he went down,” West told the Cleveland Plain Dealer after the game. “It was definitely an accident.”
SI reports Moondog was back on the court for Sunday's game.