College, NBA / Apr 27, 2011 / 12:30 pm

Making Moves: 6 Best Celebration Gestures In Basketball

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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  • Michorizo

    Shaq’s Laker days…I don’t know what you called it but Shaq would dunk and run back on D running low low low low low….

  • APE

    What about the one where after Shaq makes a dunk, he’ll take giant strides like he’s king-kong or something..

    Also JaVale McGee’s salute.

  • http://thesphericalstudies.blogspot.com Professor J

    uhhh dime Natyazhko was movin it like bernie.


  • north

    Larry Johnson has his own hit list:
    The shadow boxer
    The scream (arms straight down at his side head back screaming)
    The LJ arms

    Man I miss LJ.

  • black swamba

    Q-rich and Darius Miles head pound


    Where is Sam Cassell?

  • LD

    from football, merton hanks’ chicken dance was an all time classic


  • Harel

    Sam Cassell’s ‘Big Balls’ = best NBA celebration

    I guess he was a fan of Major League…

  • ERIC

    I hate ‘Zo, but his bicep flex after an And-One Dunk was pretty sick.

  • Hucklebuck

    Mark Jackson had the original shimmy.

  • TL

    Nick Van Exel with his “pushing down the roof” gesture back then was hilarious.

  • Kobeeeee

    Really? The big ball dance is not mentioned?
    That’s the best of them all. Even not originated from Kobe he does one of the best impressions…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfOUwKyJwN4

  • UncheckedAggression

    The LJ was my favorite. Moose horns second.

  • http://www.dimemag.com panchitoooo

    i love the big balls celebration recently used by eddie house or old school cassell. im starting to like the ron artest kiss both biceps celebration too. or the classic two man, point upwards then side bump in the air is fun but hard to do in a street ball game since theres no time outs. the shawn kemp triple pointer fingers in your face is one ive been holding on to for a while. or the magic johnson shoot the bench with your imaginary hand guns is something i used to do as a kid.

  • http://www.dimemag.com panchitoooo

    or what about the you cant see me from Tim Thomas where you move your open hand left and right across your face…

  • top_gun

    What about VC’s revving up the motorcycle during his Nets days. That was pretty original.

    By the way, KD also does the salute that McGee has been overusing.

  • top_gun

    Oh yeah I even invented my own celebration. Most people will want to physically hurt me after this but after a nice bucket, I rotate around 360 degrees showing two middle fingers.

  • cesar

    where’s the big balls dance????

    and u people are forgetting the ‘i cant feel my face’

  • QQ

    I really didn’t read the article (so i dunno if its only offense or something) but the only thing that comes to mind when hearing basketball gestures is Dikembe’s finger wag.

  • sweetv0mit

    No love for Dikembe?

  • Ian

    i am with sweetvomit on this one wheres dikembe.
    i also liked the reggie skipping like a little girl after he hadokened jordan and drained the game winning three in the conference finals. (i think reggie only did that shit once but still).

    my fav of course was the very subtle fist pump the admiral did everytime he had a and one dude was ripped.

  • Big Island

    I wanted to be LJ so bad when I was in high school. Maybe because I was a scrawny white guy, but still.

    Sam Cassell big balls was great. Birdman when he had the perm was the greatest. Dikembe for sure. Shaq had a bunch of good stuff, but no real go to move.

    The 3 goggles is the dumbest thing next to the can’t feel my face/you can’t see me.

  • dbo

    jordan’s/kobe’s guns in holster.

  • Big Island

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efuxi6CfJUQ about 1:45 in is the perm pat down.

  • Young Gunner

    And all of them are garbage

  • top_gun

    Tiger Wood’s Dragon punch

  • jdizzle

    How can u mention Toine but not Mark Jackson? And what about Baron Davis wit the jersey pop? After that EVERYBODY was doin it. And who could forget the now banned Throat Slash

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    Birdman’s bird hand motion

    Q-Rich and D-Miles, all time fave

    Jordan’s “The Shrug”

    Reggie Miller’s jump around in circles

    NOT INCLUDED: Kobe’s rat face, Dirk’s awful fist raise, TD’s “no shit I hit that shot” non-expression, KG’s chest beat, LeBron’s robot glare

  • yoda

    i loved when shaq would dunk then run back on D while staring at his hand/palm like he sees it for the first time

  • MochabearDubsNiners

    Ben Gordons one handed “bullseye” after every 3 in the 09 playoffs against the celtics.

    Shaqs left handed alley-oop slam with the lakers with the dumbfounded stare looking at his left hand as he runs down the court

  • levon

    @top_gun the middle finger 360 rotation is hilarious …i spit out my coffee reading that

  • http://www.conradburry.com Conrad

    Dikembe, “you can’t see me” hand-in-front-of-face, and birdman, please.

    @top_gun: lmao…im gonna try that one!

  • http://www.dimemag.com Austin Burton

    Personally, I liked Nick Van Exel’s “Get Off My D***” gesture more than Cassell’s “Big Sack” dance.

  • Shah

    Dikembe’s finger wag should be number 1, no question.

    LJ’s L

    Vince Carter’s half shimmy after slamming all over someone.

    Tim Duncan’s stone face

    The holding of the hand in shooting motion after hitting a big three by various players.

    Van Exel’s ‘keep the roof down’

    Jordan’s TONGUE, though that was not always in celebration and usually as he was driving.