While watching a warm-up layup line, I heard the words, “Put some Jelly on it!” The next player up then proceeded to perform a layup in similar fashion to George “The Ice Man” Gervin. Basically, “Jelly” is adding flair to your layup, and as the saying goes, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” and this movement is definitely flames.
The term “jelly” was co-created by current University of Minnesota freshman Isaiah Washington, who gave an in-depth explanation to Bleacher Report last year on how to Jelly,
“It’s more difficult than it looks,” Washington said. “We make it look easy, but there are years worth of practice perfecting it. We took something fresh, one of the game’s sweetest moves, and put our own Harlem swag on it. You gotta get in the air, float, kick your legs open, flick it with some English, use different angles off the glass, stuff like that. Left hand, right hand, reverses — there are a lot of variations to it.”
Although Jelly started out as just a term, now there is the “Jelly Fam,” which requires you to do three Jellys on someone in a game to become a member. Members include Washington, Jahvon Quinerly, and Ja’Quaye James, as well as Milicia Reid, the First Lady of Jelly Fam.
With Washington away at the University of Minnesota and being named one of the Big Ten’s top incoming freshmen, he leaves Jahvon and Ja’Quaye behind in high school. So where does Jelly Fam go from here? Ja’Quaye James told USA Today Sports this summer that he and Jahvon Quinerly are perfectly fine being the keepers of the Jelly.
“We’re the last two from the Jelly Fam movement that are still in high school,” James, a rising senior point guard at Teaneck (N.J.), said. “We’re ready to take it to the next level.”
Quinerly and James are not alone in this. The rest of the basketball world is ready to assist them.
Take a look at the impact: Jelly Fam is a hashtag on social media, “Jelly!” is on the tip of tongues across basketball gyms all over, a documentary dropped Nov. 1, and Jelly Fam even has their own merchandise ranging from t-shirts and hoodies to socks. There’s even some speculation that Nike tried to capitalize off of the movement by releasing “Jelly Fam PG1.”
Jelly Fam didn’t just inspire those in the New York City area – they inspired some of the top recruits in the country to put Jelly on their layup. One of high school basketball top recruits, Antwann Jones, had this to say when asked about the phenomenon of jelly in the basketball world.
“Jelly has had a major impact in the basketball world,” Jones says. “It makes it seem like there’s more to making a highlight play that just dunks and crossovers. Most dudes can’t jump like a Zion Williamson or an Emmitt Williams, but if you Jelly on someone, it’s going to be all over socials just as if you did. Jelly is global now. You can’t walk into the gym and not hear some kid saying it or trying to do it, so the Jelly phenomenon is everywhere. It’s down here [in Florida] like crazy. I Jelly almost every day now.”
If you’re still unsure about how to Jelly, check out this tutorial video from ILoveBasketball. It’s amazing to sit here and think that general fun by common teenagers has suddenly taken the basketball world by storm, a storm that doesn’t seem to be passing by anytime soon.