The 76ers are creating a mascot to replace Hip-Hop after relieving him of his duties.

Adam Aron, the Sixers' chief executive officer, said the team's next mascot almost certainly would have a colonial theme to reflect the city's heritage.

The Sixers are working with Jim Henson's Creature Shop and Raymond Entertainment Group, whose founder, Dave Raymond, spent more than 15 years as the Phillie Phanatic.

Aron said the new ownership group has evaluated a "number of drawings of possible successors" for Hip-Hop.

"There is a lot of love for Ben Franklin in this city," Aron said. "At the same time, Ben Franklin was a human being and these mascots are usually more animals. I don't think our pure mascot will be Ben Franklin walking around on the court. But if there's a way to work in the Founding Fathers or the colonial era or even Ben Franklin, that would be a nice feather in the cap."

Aron said the decision to remove Hip-Hop - the team issued a news release saying the rabbit had "fallen in love, married," and was relocating to rural Pennsylvania "to start a family" - was made easy by overwhelming feedback from Sixers fans.

"It was clear there was no fan support for the Hip-Hop mascot," Aron said. "Just as the fans told us many other things that we're paying attention to, the interest in this issue was considerable."

Aron cited responses from sports-talk radio listeners, Twitter users, and the Sixers' website - as well as a poll by The Inquirer - as almost unanimously in favor of the move.

"It was an easy decision," Aron said, promising additional announcements in the coming weeks about the team's in-game presentation.

"There are so many obvious mascots for teams," Aron said. "The mascot for the 76ers is not as obvious to detail other than it would be nice if there could be some colonial theme in some shape or fashion, given the great historic heritage of Philadelphia."

Calling on Quinn

Ken Berger of CBS Sports reported Tuesday that both the NBA and Billy Hunter, the former chief of the players union, have been in touch with deal-broker Jim Quinn.

Quinn, who served as lead outside counsel for the players union for 20 years, helped work out the agreement that ended the 1998-99 NBA lockout.

He is known and trusted by key players on both sides of the labor dispute.

Contact staff writer Kate Fagan at Follow her on Twitter @DeepSixer3, and read her blog, "Deep Sixer," on