WHEN THEY bought the Philadelphia 76ers a couple of months ago, one of the first things the new billionaire owners did was fire much-maligned mascot Hip Hop - the hyper hare with the anatomically correct Schwarze-negger guns whose energy level did not seem to come from just being "high on life."
To put it simply, the bunny looked fried on 'roids.
He was gone so fast, he never had an exit interview. The Sixers owners concocted a story about Hip Hop falling in love and moving to rural Pennsylvania to raise a family. No one bought it.
Recently, at a secret location near where he spent his glory years somersaulting above the rim, Hip Hop met with Daily News staffers Chris "B. Free" Brennan, Dave "Dr. G" Gambacorta and Molly "The Answer" Eichel to tell his side of the story:
Brennan: Do you think the Sixers' mascot replacement candidates - B. Franklin Dogg, Phil E. Moose and Big Ben - are rip-offs of Scooby Doo, Bullwinkle and Grandpa Stroehmann?
Hip Hop: Blatant, dude. To replace a sexually threatening rabbit like me with three walking advertisements for erectile dysfunction is sacrilege. What are they going to call the mascot they finally choose - "E.D."?
Brennan: The new owners said you left to get married. I don't see a ring. I heard you were canned after failing a third mandatory NBA drug test for steroids. True?
Hip Hop: Wasn't 'roids, man. Dude gave me this rabbit's foot treatment called The Clear - said it would help me clear the rim on my somersault dunks. And it did.
After, I dreamed I was chillin' on an island with Beyoncé and Rihanna. All the Sixers were there, singing, "Put a Ring on It." When the dream lasted more than four hours, I called my physician.
Gambacorta: Why did the new owners give you the boot?
Hip Hop: I was hired by Pat Croce right off the mean streets of Fairmount Park in '96 - just a rowhouse guy and a rowhouse rabbit giving everything we had for the Sixers. Remember Croce climbing 374 feet up the Walt Whitman Bridge to hang that "Go Sixers, Beat L.A." banner in 2001? Can you see these Wall Street 1-percenters climbing anything but the social ladder?
When they told me, "Hip Hop, lose the shades, lose the do-rag, and change your name to Hipster or Singer Songwriter," I said, "Homie don't play that way."
Eichel: So you didn't marry and settle down?
Hip Hop: Not a marriage. A civil ceremony. Me and [previous Sixers' mascot] Big Shot. First time I saw him moonwalk, he had me at "Billie Jean is not my lover."