The 10 Worst Sports Celebrations in the History of Sports
Dear LeBron James,
Just ask, and I'm sure Dancing With The Stars will have you on their ridiculously cheesy show next season. I'm sure millions of potato-chip snackin' housewives would be fixated on your every silly, pre-fabricated step.
But as a basketball fan, I demand you immediately cease and desist with your bullshit pre-game choreography. It's stupid. It's illogical. It's degrading. It's unbecoming of a player who has the talent - but not the temperament? - to win an NBA Championship.
Keep dunking. Stop dramatizing.
Just a hunch, but I bet I could get the likes of Tim Duncan, Michael Jordan and Larry Bird to sign the letter as well.
I've been contemplating this list for a while. For the longest time I debated the merits of things like the Ickey Shuffle and Carl Edwards' backflip and Barry Bonds' batters-box 360 and every single athlete these days jumping and colliding into teammates in mid-air.
My conclusion: It's not entertaining. It's embarrassing.
Surely you've seen LeBron's LeRoutine?
In short, he gathers his Cleveland Cavaliers teammates and pretends - gawd, it's just sooo gay - to snap a couple of over-exaggerated photos of them. Then he mimmicks - I'm trying to type this without slowy, dejectedly shaking my head - changing the film in his imaginary camera, setting a fake timer and then jumping into the photo himself. The teammates giddily pose, with one even jumping into another's arms.
Afterward, of course, LeBron goes over to the scorer's table and throws talcum powder high into the air, blaspheming Jordan's schtick from 20 years ago. Unlike Jordan's original puff-of-smoke clap at Chicago Bulls' announcer Johnny Kerr, nothing about LeBron's production is subtle. It's all a pre-meditated, orchestrated "look at me! ... before I do anything!"
Reminds me of when the Mavs had those great series with Sacramento earlier this decade. One night, the Kings got in a big circle and - swear - did a high-kick routine just after pre-game intros, morphing into the Sacramento Queens.
I don't particularly like Jason Terry's "Jet on the Runway" bit after a big 3-pointer. Nor did I care for Kenny Gant's "Shark" or Butch Johnson's "California Quake", but they don't come close to making my list of all-time most disgusting sports celebrations.
Give me Jordan's first pump, Tiger's uppercut, Lance Armstrong's digit declaration, Brandi Chastain's score-n-strip, Dikembe Mutombu's finger wag, the New England Patriots cooly being introduced as a team before Super Bowl XXXVI or these types of NBA dancers. Do not give me a flambouyant bastardization of Disney on Ice.
Sports fans, please join me in exorcising from our world The 10 Worst Sports Celebrations in the History of Sports ...
10. The Rat's Ass - Florida Panthers fans not only ripped off Detroit's original, clever idea of throwing octopus on the ice, they used fake rats. Weak.
9. The Anatomy Lesson - After a five-set win at the '08 U.S. Open, Novak Djokovic pounded his chest in exclamation. He continued on, however, pointing to his biceps, thighs and temple in some sort of twisted the knee-bone's-connected-to-the-shin-bone routine.
8. The Premature Exaltation - Dallas' Justin Leonard's 45-foot putt was part of a historical comeback by the '99 U.S. Ryder Cup team, but the trampling onto the green by teammates and players' wives before Jose-Maria Olazabal's potential tying putt was inexcusable.
7. The No-Brainer - Washington Redskins' quarterback Gus Frerotte gave himself a strained neck and a concussion in 1999 when, after running for a score, he inexplicably head-butted the padded, yet cement wall surrounding the field.
6. The Cloud Pleaser - If you've seen Angels' reliever Frankie Rodriguez emphatically, repeatedly point to the heavens after a successful save, surely you've - like me - wondered why he doesn't flip the bird toward hell after allowing a game-losing homer.
5. The Desecration - Only thing more nauseating than Terrell Owens standing on Texas Stadium's star was when he slithered into a Dallas Cowboys' uniform.
4. The Mid-Air Melee - Sorry, but I don't get it. A player who has just scored a touchdown or drilled a big shot points upward and meets a teammate in mid-air, like a full-body high five. Mark my words, at some point an ankle will be sprained or ACL torn.
3. The Ickey Shuffle - Worst. "Dance". Ever.
2. The Grave Diggers - On Nov. 8, 2003 Texas A&M's defense stuffed Oklahoma running back Donta Hickson on a fourth-and-goal from the Aggies' 5 late in the game. After the stop, several Aggies celebrated wildly, two even performing a "grave digger" celebration complete with shoveling motion over the fallen Hickson. One small problem: OU, which was leading the game 77-0, wasn't trying to score, having long since invoked its own mercy rule. In fact, the Sooners didn't score in the fourth quarter despite running seven plays inside A&M's 8-yard line. The Aggies' self-aggrandizing is the lamest, most misplaced celebrating in the history of college football.
1. The LeBron LePhoto - Watch it and you can't help but cringe. For him. For you. For the NBA. For all of mankind.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Observer's biggest stories.