The NBA is filled with in-game celebrations and they seem to make the game fun for the fans when your favorite player does some type of gesture after scoring a big bucket. Nicolas Saint of thedoublescreen.com compiled 27 awesome in-game celebrations and captured them in gifs!
After the whirlwind of free agency, the NBA offseason tends to grind to a halt. I’ve decided to compile a list of current NBA players to critique and adulate some of their most notable in-game celebrations. There are some omissions due to their murky future (Steve Novak, Caron Butler, Jason Terry) and one that I couldn’t make a quality GIF of (Mike Conley), but for the most part, I’m pretty happy to highlight these players as the cream of the crop NBA celebrators.
27.) Vince Carter (Crank It Up)
Long time aerial expert Vince Carter has been adamant in interviews that his “crank it up” celebration has nothing to do with motorcycles or handlebars, and it should be taken quite literally for what it is: “cranking it up” after the crowd loses their collective shit over a monstrous dunk. This move comes from a man that exercised his demons in the Olympics over Frederic Weis, so I think my gripe of it being a little tame has some legitimacy to it. But he can do whatever the hell he wants to considering that he still throws down vicious dunks at 39 years old. What’s more impressive to me however, is his broadcasting skills. He would be a low-key great addition to the TNT family.
26.) Stephen Curry (Glory To God)
Without invoking anything from the Crusades, there has been a lot of basketball violence carried out directly from the practiced hands of Curry. It’s true, basketball is not a Bloodsport and Curry is no Frank Dux, but from my personal observations (minutes of rewinding and reviewing records of retinal scans) a number of players defending Steph Curry went through brief flashes of self-immolation while attempting to stay in front of him. This celebration has a straightforward explanation: a nod to the man above after splashing a trey, from a God-fearing servant. And while playoffs-and-beyond Ayesha Curry isn’t helping the stock of the Curry family, there is nothing to hate about such a simple gesture, even if it is the basketball equivalent of death by a thousand cuts.
25.) James Harden (Cookin’ // ?)
His defense will never win him a Michelin Star, but watching Harden throw up silly numbers in the Houston offense is a real common occurrence nowadays, like a Rattata or a CS:GO cheating scandal. Throw D’Antoni into the mix, and things will get downright silly. The Lil B inspired celebration takes on its own form with Harden.
He’s either secretly been communicating “Fuck Kevin Durant” this entire time, or doing his best impersonation of the creative process of a Jackson Pollock painting. Who knows? What I do know is that you can’t whip your ladle around a pot of boiling vegetable stock or soup at the force and speed that Harden does without sustaining third degree burns in the process. But egg yolks? Harden is your man for the most balanced meal of the day.
24.) LeBron James (Cocked // Kill ‘Em All)
Introducing the first of a number of gun celebrations on this list. But as far as I know, this one is a one-off, sort of like theWow! signal or Chickenpox. Leave it to LeBron to make it the most detailed and elaborate of all of the weapon related celebrations. I was scared that he would start spraying it side-armed with reckless abandon, but the recourse of that action would leave his pockets a bit lighter and cause imaginary collateral damage. Plus, quite frankly, the last thing we need right now is getting LeBron mucked up in gun control drama. Scoop Jackson wrote an entire article on the potential repercussion of said celebration and the climate that we now live in, where the action symbolizes so much more than just an action. Regardless of my personal opinion on the silliness of our gun laws, it’s an effective celebration and it looks cool. Luckily for LBJ, Ohio is an open-carry state.
23.) Chris Andersen (Birdman // Bird Flying High)
I’d wager that a decent chunk of (casual) NBA fans don’t even know what Birdman’s real name is and only identify him as “Birdman”. That’s pretty cool, actually. I wish I had an entirely different persona that everybody knew me for rather than my given birth name. Andersen has come a long way from being banned from the NBA for continued hard drug use, as well as physically, using the offseason to spill more ink on his canvas to complete his persona. For those reasons alone, his celebrations hold more weight than most of the list. Never stop flapping, Birdman.
22.) Kawhi Leonard (The Claw)
If Kawhi displaying his oven mitts to the crowd doesn’t deter you from testing your weak ass crossover and first step combo on him, be my guest. I’m sure the Spurs absolutely love running fast breaks. If I could parallel an entity to Kawhi Leonard, it would be Rami Malek as Elliot Alderson in Mr. Robot. Introspective, weird, quiet, daring, dangerous. His reputation as a staunch defender with frighteningly high impact means his impending ascension (higher than Finals MVP Kawhi) could signal a heel turn among fickle NBA fans. Kevin Garnett went through it, LeBron went through it, Durant is going through it and even Curry is wading dangerously close to villain waters. Of course, it’s hard to hate a Spur and people like Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki have managed to dodge that bullet, so maybe I’m talking out of my ass. My secret motive is actually wanting the whole Dr. Claw angle to come to form. It’s ripe for the taking, especially now with Brandon “Inspector Gadget” Ingram entering the fray.
NEXT: 21.) Russell Westbrook (The Walk // Post Apocalyptic)