HOUSTON – The Houston Rockets are looking for a new Clutch the Bear. Robert Boudwin, the man behind the Houston Rockets mascot, is retiring after 21 years of entertaining Houston.
Boudwin announced his retirement July 22.
"With mixed emotions and a heavy heart, it is time for me to say goodbye to my alter ego of 21 years and 'best friend in fur' Clutch the Bear, Mascot for the Houston Rockets," Boudwin wrote on Facebook.
Boudwin is expanding his family, with another set of twins on the way for him and his wife. They have a girl and a set of twin boys, who have participated in many of his performances. He wants to spend more time with his family and growing his new business venture.
"I will be taking a brief period of time off to focus on our baby girls' birth and care, but am eager to pursue the next chapter of my career," Boudwin wrote.
The Rockets organization recruited Boudwin in 1995. Since then, he has performed in more than 1,000 games.
Clutch was all about pumping up the crowd and keeping them engaged in the game.
"The reason my kids enjoyed basketball at the Toyota Center was cause of Clutch. You will be missed," Gary Trevino wrote.
You could see him running around Toyota Center doing one of his classic pranks or getting behind one of the basketball goals to distract the opposing team. He defied gravity with some of his stunts. His personality and energy is something many people will miss.
"Thank you for entertaining us with your half court shots...should sign with the team!" Adam Woodward wrote.
Boudwin said he's proud of his work on the court, but mostly what he's done in the community.
"I took most pride in performing over 1,750 school shows in front of 1.2 million Houston area students over the years," he said. "It has been my honor to help inspire a generation of Houstonians to build a better future for themselves by focusing on the importance of their education," Boudwin said.
"Thank you very much for allowing me in your hearts in the last 21 years," Boudwin said. "I love you, Houston."
KPRC 2 had the honor of having Boudwin in the studio for a farewell cake in the face.
You can watch an extended interview on the KPRC 2 Facebook page.
The man behind Clutch is saying goodbye to the bear costume. Share your memories and photos. We wish him well!Posted by KPRC2 / Click2Houston on Wednesday, July 27, 2016