If you’re going to make it in the NBA, you need a wide repertoire of skills. That’s why players spend endless hours mastering their footwork, spin moves, balance and overall body control. I’m talking, of course, about their dance moves.
Today, the NBA is like that little town from Footloose at the end of the movie, liberated at last from the shackles of the sexually-repressed, evangelical, Christian-right community leaders, shamelessly and deliriously entranced by the rhythm trapped inside them for so long.
Over the past few years, pregame dance routines have become ubiquitous, and spur-of-the-moment You-Got-Served-style dance competitions could erupt at any moment.
Everyone likes to crow about the NBA’s gawky fashions these days, but spontaneous sideline celebrations and other random acts of rhythm have been the biggest trend of the past few years, often with mixed results. But that’s what makes it so entertaining. Today, we pay tribute to the most bizarre, hilarious, and stupefying moments in NBA dance history.
*** *** ***
10. TYLER HANSBROUGH, aka Psycho T, aka Tyler the Destroyer, aka Evolutionary Mark Madsen
Recently named one of the two most hated college basketball players of all time, Tyler Hansbrough is the GIF that keeps on giving. Apparently unfazed by the fact that he is almost universally despised around the league, Hansbrough overcompensates for a lack of legitimate basketball skill by outhustling everyone around him. He’s the bull in the china shop, the gorilla in the phone booth, so it should be no surprise that his celebration dances are a frightening display of overzealous awkwardness.
9. ROBERT SACRE
Many bench players aspire to the rank of human victory cigar, but only a select few reach such extraordinary heights as seen here.
8. JIMMER FREDETTE
He went to the whitest school on Earth (BYU) and was one of the most overhyped prospects in recent memory, the latest in a long line of Great White Hopes that never panned out. He hasn’t produced very many highlights during his uninspiring NBA career, so you’ll just have to settle for this little routine, which starts strong but quickly devolves into some sort of unholy combination of Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance and Michael Jackson‘s Moon Walk.
7. JOHN WALL
“The Dougie” is one of those inexplicable phenomenons. The song is dreadful, and the accompanying dance moves are equally appalling. But that didn’t stop John Wall from making it his signature dance routine during his rookie season.
6. GREG OSTERTAG
The perpetual whipping boy for Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls during the 1990s, Ostertag has some of the worst muscle definition of any “athlete” we’ve ever seen, which is only partially what makes this video so disturbing. If you have children, cover their eyes or send them into the other room. Behold: Greg Ostertag prancing around in a Speedo, just like in my nightmares.
5. ANTOINE WALKER
Now that Doc Rivers has moved on to more scenic pastures, and Pierce and Garnett have been shipped over to their new Russian overlords, why not go ahead and hire Antoine Walker as the Celtics’ new head coach and begin in earnest what is shaping up to be one of the most epic tank jobs in the history of the NBA?
4. MARK MADSEN
The words “white people” and “dancing” conjure up all sorts of glorious cringe-inducing imagery. Think Al Gore at the inaugural ball. Think George W. Bush in Africa. Think apathetic hipsters at an indie-rock concert. Over the years, the NBA’s resident Caucasians have given us some great comedic fodder, on and off the court, but none moreso than the human mascot himself, Mark Madsen.
Starting forward of the NBA’s all-time hustle team, Madsen gave so much over the years, we thought it only right to pay our respects. He brings instant energy everywhere he goes, and he has more championship rings than Patrick Ewing, Tracy McGrady, Reggie Miller, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, Karl Malone, John Stockton and Charles Barkley… combined. Here it is: Proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
3. LeBRON JAMES
LeBron James is the undisputed King of impromptu sidelines jigs, the Chosen One of pregame dance routines. He’s an unstoppable force once he starts to feel the rhythm in his feet. But not everyone finds his antics amusing. Joakim Noah, for instance, seems more than a little butt-hurt by LeBron’s grandstanding.
But the best by far is Derrick Rose throwing world-historical shade at the King during the 2012 Eastern Conference All-Star introductions:
Also, here is proof that D-Rose can dance. (Note: there’s no way of verifying whether it’s actually Derrick Rose in this video, but we believe it in our heart of hearts.)
2. BRIAN SCALABRINE
We all know that Brian Scalabrine taught Chuck Norris how to fight. He also taught Michael Jackson how to do this dance. I’m not sure what’s more amazing about this clip, Scalabrine’s dance moves or the fact that there is a Brian Salabrine Basketball Camp somewhere that actually exists.
We all know that Brian Scalabrine penned the lyrics to “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” so I’m not sure why he needs to read them off a piece of pastel construction paper.
1. SHAQUILLE O’NEAL
If there were a show about people who hoard nicknames, Shaq would be first in line for an intervention. The Big Diesel, The Big Aristotle, The Big Cactus, and too many others to mention. With his moves, I’m not sure how we overlooked The Big Baryshnikov for this long. Nevertheless, Shaq is the most dominant dance-fighting opponent the NBA has ever seen.
Chris Bosh Robot Videobomb:
Rasheed Wallace Doing “The Carlton”
What do you think?
Follow Jamie on Twitter at @WinoCarpenter.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.