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For nearly a quarter of a century, Bob Woolf has traveled the globe as one of the most high profile sports ambassadors in America today. As the Phoenix Suns Gorilla, Bob broke new ground with never before seen performances and innovative stunts now emulated throughout the NBA, setting a new standard for professional sports entertainment and an exciting new direction for game operations.
Pioneering such high flying aerial stunts as the "flip dunk" (Bob's creation and namesake for his new gym), Bob literally sprung to fame as the Suns Gorilla back in 1988. Since then, his creative approach to trampoline athletics has spawned a new generation of dunk teams and sports entertainment. Featured in Sports Illustrated for his visionary and unique talents, not to mention his unprecedented longevity in his field, Bob was one of the first inductees into the inaugural Mascot Hall of Fame. Through nothing more than imagination and sweat, Bob single-handedly took a sideline mascot to international stardom.
Bob's amazing career began to take shape as early as 6 years old when he signed up for gymnastics in his home state of Montana. Over the course of the next 16 years as a competitive gymnast he earned numerous accolades, including three time All Around state championships and two college national titles. But it was just after attending Arizona State University for his degree in physical education, that Bob would really make a mark on his sport and redefine it.
Beating out 500 other hopefuls during auditions for the Suns Gorilla, the always fearless Bob, emerged from the crowd with the first ever "flip dunk" in the NBA. By his own definition, it's the act of completing a somersault mid-air off a trampoline and dunking a basketball through a hoop. By everyone else's – a seminal moment in professional sports. "It was just a clever, original way to tie my gymnastics expertise and basketball together for auditions." - Bob Woolf.
Bob's jaw-dropping stunts don't end on the court. Always known to make a grand entrance and unforgettable moments, Bob's repelled from the rafters of the U-S Airways Arena, raced past crowds on his custom "Gorilla" Harley Davidson, introduced the awe-inspiring "big swing" for opening day for the Arizona Diamondbacks and even flew thousands of feet in the air tethered to the wings of a biplane promoting the NBA finals. Defying both gravity and the odds, over the years Bob's humor-laced, cutting-edge acrobatics, turned the Suns Gorilla into a wildly popular and beloved figure, transcending the very league he was designed merely to entertain during time-outs.
Bob's wide-ranging talent is only matched by the scope of his generosity. Recognizing the power of the Gorilla’s popularity, Bob has used his influence to encourage kids to stay in school, stay away from drugs, start reading and stop smoking. He’s also raised countless dollars over the years, for numerous charities across Arizona.
By the numbers, Bob has entertained in over 20 countries and 45 of the 50 United States. Just in NBA games alone he’s worked over 1,200 and has been featured in 9 NBA All-Star Games. He’s also been featured in over 250 NCAA Basketball games, NCAA Football games, MLB games, Minor League Baseball games, NHL games, NFL games, and the WWF. Not bad for a guy who just wanted to prolong his gymnastics career a little longer after college. “I thought adding a few more years to my gymnastics career would be great…. and that was 24 years ago!” – Bob Woolf
Personally, Bob is a loving father of three and has been married to his wife Malarie for over 24 years.