Even though they’re not very well known, the bench guys can instill some enthusiasm and excitement all their own while pumping up their playing teammates with every towel wave and fist pump. Let’s take a look at the top 10 bench celebrations over the 2012/13 NBA season.
Being a 12th manâ€”or the 13th, 14th and 15th man on an NBA rosterâ€”can be a humbling experience. Especially considering the last player’s on an NBA bench could probably star in any other league in the world, and would certainly be destroying guys at the local gym or YMCA. But just because they might be some of the finest basketball players in the NBA, they’re not quite good enough to get much playing time.
But that hasn’t stopped a lot of bench buys from upping the ante on celebrations when their teammates do something spectacular. Occasionally, as you’ll see below, the stars are leading the bench in celebratory gestures as their lesser known teammates do something incredibleâ€”usually in garbage time.
But if you can’t get excited for your teammates then there’s something wrong with you, and we’ve all gesticulated, yelled, and jumped around when our favorite teams pull off the extraordinary. Here are the top 10 bench celebrations for the 2013 season in gif form:
10. JaVale McGee holds back the “Manimal” Kenneth Faried
When JaVale McGee is trying to keep you under control, then something’s up. The Manimal might have the cover for the new ESPN the Magazine Body Issue, but Faried’s going bizerko style if McGee is the voice of reason.
9. Kent Bazemore Leg Kick
Bazemore’s leg kick is actually enough of a thing now, there’s a name for the whole thing: Bazemoring. We hope Bazemore has plenty more to leg kick about when the Warriors tip-off next year, but first he’s gotta remain with the team long enough for his enthusiasm to catch on; he spent some time in the D-League during his rookie year with the Warriors.
8. Patty Mills Towel Wave
The towel wave is as much a part of NBA lore as any bench celebration. That’s why we can appreciate Patty Mills‘ short, but sweet devotion to the art in his celebration. His towel wave is like the Spurs themselves: short and to the point, with very little fluff.
7. Ryan Hollins’ Towel Skills
But Ryan Hollins of the Clippers is a lot more intricate with his towel wave here. He’s basically got a dance choreographed, using only the towel as a prop. In terms of sheer aesthetic preference, we’ll take Hollins’ more intricate version, but like the Spurs did in the second round of the 2012 NBA postseason against the Clippers, where the Clips were swept, oftentimes style loses against substance. Not so in these rankings though. So congrats Ryan!
6. DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin
They’re the personificaion of the “Lob City” ethos, so it makes sense Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan would celebrate together as well. We’re pretty sure those rumors of feud are oveblown. These guys love each other.
5. Carmelo Anthony’s ‘Toot Toot’ Ring The Bell Talk
We’re not really sure what Carmelo Anthony said after his ring the bell this team is done gesture, but it looks slightly incendiary, so maybe Kevin Garnett‘s influence has made him a more impossible player to go against?
4. Novak Incredible Hulk
Who doesn’t like Steve Novak mimicking The Incredible Hulk? The svelte, sweet-shooting former Marquette standout might not be overpowering players with this blink-and-you-missed it jumper, but he’s got our attention with this ‘roid rage homage.
3. Captain Jack Freak Out after Duncan’s Winner
Stephen Jackson has led a crazy life, but that’s what makes his unbridled joy after this Tim Duncan game-winner so amazing. He’s so freakin’ happy, a primordial yell and violent set of fist pumps is the only way to express his happiness. We’re doing the same thing watching this over-and-over-and-over again.
2. Danilo Gallinari and the Nuggets
This appears to be a coordinated celebration by the Denver Nuggets after Danilo Gallinari‘s three-pointer, but we like the throat execution followed by the gentle kiss to the crowd that pre-dates the Denver bench’s reaction. Maybe one of our readers can explain what they’re doing to commemorate Gallinari’s big shot? [UPDATE: a reader points out that the Denver bench is evoking the Italian gesture of “to ask for,” which makes this celebration even better.]
1. Boogie Cousins Single Wave
DeMarcus Cousins hasn’t always been the best teammate in the world, and we don’t really know if he’s messing around with his teammates here, but he gets the whole bench and a couple rows behind the bench to do the wave, mid-game, and immediately return to their seats. It’s our number one bench reaction just because Cousins doesn’t offer much support usually. Maybe if he sees he’s got the top bench celebration of the 2013 NBA season, things will change.
Also, pay special attention to the Robert Sacre section of the video (28 seconds in). Although we didn’t feature him on our list, Sacre’s moves on the Lakers sideline have been featured prominently before.
What’s your favorite bench celebration from this year?
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