Lil'G is having big fun Hip-Hop sidekick is crazy for Sixers

Posted: May 07, 2001

All job interviews should be this easy.

To gain employment as Lil'G, zany sidekick to the 76ers' mascot, Hip-Hop, all Glen Foster had to do was say he was crazy.

Well, he actually had to admit that while yelling at the top of his lungs.

Foster, 20, is a 1999 graduate of Archbishop Wood High, in Warminster, and a business administration major at Bucks County Community College.

He was hired in the middle of last season, shortly after attending the Sixers' Slam Dunk for Diabetes event.

"Me and my buddy were in line to get [team president] Pat Croce's autograph," Foster said. "When we got up to him, we were having a lot of fun. I could tell he was taking a liking to me.

"When I turned to leave and the next person moved up, something came over me. I just had this idea. I excused myself, moved back in front and said to Pat, 'I have to ask you something. Could you use a junior mascot?'

"He was going, 'Yeah, yeah. I like that. But are you crazy?' I said, 'Yeah, I'm crazy.' I used kind of a regular voice and he said, 'You don't sound crazy to me. ARE YOU CRAZY?!?!' So I said, "YEAH, I'M CRAZY!!!!!!!' "

Welcome aboard.

Foster is impossible to miss. A dwarf, he stands 4-8 and weighs 120 pounds.

He accompanies Hip-Hop throughout the First Union Center during the Sixers' games, even into the club boxes, and frolics around the court during stoppages of play. He wears costumes - trench coats, camouflage, etc. Acts as Hip-Hop's foil. Fires giveaway items into the upper deck. Even makes the ESPN highlights.

That happened during the celebration to retire Charles Barkley's number. Starting three-quarters court away, Foster ran toward the basket, bounced off a trampoline at the foul line and wolfed down a two-handed dunk.

"I practiced that for two months," he said. "I had to do it right. I was very pumped."

Foster and introvert will be used in the same sentence just this once.

At Wood, he spent his senior year inside the Viking costume and when he speaks, he does so quickly with emotion.

"I'm having a great time!" he said. "When I'm 40 years old, I don't know if I'll want to be in the mascot business, but I do want to ride this out for as long as it'll go. If it blows up, it blows up. If it doesn't, great.

"When I first started, we were experimenting. We weren't quite sure what my role was going to be and how to make it work best. But Hip-Hop, he's great. We make a great team.

"Since he's not allowed to speak, I can be his voice. Say we're walking around the building and we see a guy in a Knicks jersey. I can start off with a comment about the guy and then Hip-Hop kicks in with his gestures."

Out of the chute, Foster had fears about maintaining his dignity. Unfounded fears, it turned out.

"I just didn't want to be in some degrading dwarf role," he said. "But the Sixers are wonderful. They've got my back. They make sure I'm not put in some unflattering light.

"The fans are phenomenal, too. I mean, when you're in a building with 20,000 people, of course a few of them are going to be screwy. There's going to be a little mocking. But basically, I've been totally accepted by the fans."

Ditto the players.

"They're awesome," he said. "Before every game, me and Hip-Hop pass them in the hallway near the locker room. We slap them five. Have some laughs. Allen Iverson likes to give me the love sign."

And then, there's Matt Geiger.

"I'm using the shaved head/goatee look now," Foster said. "Everybody's call me 'Lil'Matt.' I was having a little trouble with my head. I was getting cuts from the shaving. Matt gave me a tip. He said to put a hot towel on my head before I shave it. It worked!" *

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