Who carries the nuclear football? Did aliens build the pyramids? Are Tupac and Biggie actually still alive?
The deep state has protected answers to these questions to an impressive degree, leaving many of us still wondering. But the powers-that-be have nothing on Kroenke Sports and Entertainment when it comes to closely guarding secrets.
In particular, the Denver Nuggets, a team owned by KSE, absolutely refuse to reveal any details about the person inside the suit of Rocky, the beloved mountain lion mascot.
Certainly, part of the mascot allure is that fans don't know who is inside the suit of characters like the Phillie Phanatic, Benny the Bull or Gritty. But an exception should be made in the situation of Rocky, because the story is just that compelling.
Kenn Solomon was the first person to don the Rocky suit when the mountain lion was born in the Rockies in 1990. Solomon wore the suit to critical acclaim, as fans from around the globe came to love Rocky for his energy, athleticism and antics. In recognition of his lifelong service to the mascot profession, the Mascot Hall of Fame inducted Solomon into that ring of honor in 2008.
But in recent years, Solomon quietly retired and handed off Rocky's paws to a successor: his real-life son, Drake. This type of development is a public-relations layup for any organization. The man inside the suit of a universally appreciated mascot handed over the reins to his son, who had worked as a trampoline dunk halftime performer for the Nuggets. It's the type of story that would go viral in the best way imaginable for the Nuggets.
But this organization chooses to act like a major-league sports Grinch when it comes to Rocky, depriving fans of all the fun that could be had.
"It is our approach not to discuss the person in the suit for Rocky, Bernie, Woolly or Rapid Man," Declan Bolger, a KSE spokesperson, has previously told Westword, also listing off the mascots for the KSE-owned Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Mammoth and Colorado Rapids. Bolger did not return a request for comment this time around, either.
Season-ticket holders and those who attend a bunch of Nuggets games have noticed that Rocky has seemed a little different. The most notable change is that he struggles now with hitting the mascot's patented backwards half-court shot.
Until recently, Kenn Solomon, sporting a purple-dyed soul patch, could actually be spotted on the court right next to Rocky while the mascot was attempting to hit the backwards half-court shot. A father was coaching his son, as though they were in the driveway shooting hoops or hitting batting practice together in a classic father-son bonding activity. Kenn Solomon declined to comment, as did his other son, Cade, who works as Rocky's guide during games. Drake Solomon did not return a request for comment. A third son, Garett, has been working as Hooper, the mascot for the Detroit Pistons.
But there's an incredible twist to all of this: During the February 2 game at Ball Arena between the Golden State Warriors and the Nuggets, Kenn Solomon could not be spotted on the floor when Rocky was taking his backwards half-court shot. But neither was he actually out of the picture.
A source, whose name Westword has agreed to withhold owing to what is obviously some classified-documents-level sensitivity surrounding the identity of Rocky, says that Kenn is once again donning the suit of Rocky. This development is quite recent and has nothing to do with the performance of Drake as Rocky. Instead, Drake is on the mascot injured reserve. While he gets his medical issues sorted out, Dad is donning the suit. What a luxury to have a mascot father.
And that might just give Kenn — the OG Rocky — the sendoff that he had always hoped for: serving as Rocky in the finals as the Nuggets lock up the team's first-ever NBA championship.