Making Moves: 6 Best Celebration Gestures In Basketball

By: 04.27.11  •  34 Comments
Rudy Fernandez

Rudy Fernandez

I’ve seen a lot of this “Three Goggles” gesturing going on during the NBA Playoffs, and it got me to wondering the origins of it all. Come to think of it, what other physical shows of ecstasy have we seen throughout basketball history? After all, amazing happens when athletes make us identify with their personalities with creative visual celebrations.

So here it is: a rundown of some of the more memorable moves in basketball, many of which helped define their inventors.

The Three Goggles

Started by the Portland Trail Blazers after Rudy Fernandez‘s long-range vision became suspect, the Three Goggles have made waves across the basketball world in the past few months.

According to The Wall Street Journal, “To make the gesture, players form the ‘A-OK’ sign over both eyes to form ‘goggles’ with their thumbs and forefingers, and (to denote the change in the score) stick the other three fingers up in the air.”

The Three Goggles may be flashed upon hitting a three-pointer, but is generally reserved for important, game-changing bombs. In addition to the attitude-enhancement and swag one assumes when wearing them, it’s permissible to don them at any time if wearing them aides in shooting with better vision.

The John Wall Dance

This dance likely became popular because of its simplicity and versatility. The John Wall Dance can be conveyed my simply flexing the bicep – as if showing your “guns” – and rotating the wrist inward and out while holding it in a right angle with the forearm.

As for versatility, the John Wall can be used in either a basketball or social situation. For example, one may use the John Wall Dance as did Wall in its conception, riling up his teammates after the starting lineup introductions.

In everyday life, it may be appropriate when getting your favorite professional athlete to retweet you. Or after a successful hunt.

The ‘Toine Shimmy

Antoine Walker might be broke, but his showmanship as a basketball player will never be forgotten. And at the center of it all was his shimmy.

The shimmy consists of putting one’s arms out to the side and doing a slight shoulder shake while leaning backward, almost as if doing the limbo. For an extra oomph, Walker often added some not-too-subtle spasms to the shimmy.

Particularly effective to pull out after an and one, the shimmy was great because of its lighthearted nature, which I think was especially refreshing considering all the unnecessary chest-pounding that we see in the NBA.

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The Q-Rich and D-Miles Head-Bop

I’m pretty sure nobody knows what it means, but when they were young, former Clippers teammates Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles patented the head-bop.

After almost every made shot, Richardson and Miles would tap their foreheads at least a couple times, forming metaphorical antennas/horns.

Granted, it’d be more insightful to know what they actually stand for; maybe it’s not PG enough for David Stern‘s approval.

The JET Plane

It’s pretty convenient that Jason Terry‘s middle name is Eugene. His initials, if you couldn’t figure it out, spell JET, Terry’s nickname. And whenever he hits an important bucket, Terry will put the flaps down and get ready for takeoff, extending his arms and, well, acting like a jet.

The only downside to the JET is that Terry can’t zip around like a school-child when another team is pushing the ball back on offense. Therefore, if you’re an opposing coach, it is always smart to hold off on calling the quick timeout as to avoid the Terry flyby.

There’s even a song about it.

A Hidden Gem: The Realio Dance

This may or may not ever become a nationwide fad, but at the University of Arizona, the learning institution of your’s truly, fan-favorite Kyryl Natyazhko debuted the Realio Dance during his team’s third round NCAA Tournament game against Texas.

The Realio is when one looks straight up, bends backward and flails the arms violently. Screaming is optional but works well in an important moment so long as you’re on the bench.

Especially cool when slowed down and played to a remix of Bloodhound Gang‘s “The Bad Touch,” the Realio is named after K-Real, Natyazhko’s nickname.

Did we forget any? What’s your favorite celebration in basketball?

Follow Kevin on Twitter at @offensivelyfoul.

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