Nearly three years ago, Nick “Swaggy P” Young celebrated a three-pointer that did not go in.
It was a magical moment branded into every basketball fan’s brain, and a blooper that seriously captured the public’s imagination in a way few sports plays ever can. (It was a Facebook trending topic for multiple days.)
On Thursday, Kemba Walker unwittingly recreated the moment.
This begs the question. Who did it better?
I have created five criteria with which to judge this matter. Let’s run through them.
ORIGINALITY: Young did it first, and it’s telling that everyone’s first reaction to seeing the Kemba was to drudge up Swaggy P’s name. Point for Young.
CONFIDENCE: Both shooters wait to see the shot hit rim, but Young is ready to celebrate almost immediately after that moment. Kemba hesitates a split second as it rattles around. Point for Young.
CELEBRATION: Kemba shimmies as the ball rattles out. KEMBA SHIMMIES AS THE BALL RATTLES OUT. No contest. Point for Kemba.
REALIZATION: This is tough, because we see Swaggy’s realization in the GIF (“ohhhh!”) but the Kemba GIF we’ve used here and seen elsewhere doesn’t show Walker’s reaction. That makes it more cool in my book, like walking away from an explosion in an action movie. Point for Kemba.
REACTION: The Lakers’ lighting decisions hurt Young here: you can’t see anyone in the crowd, and the teammates on the court are busy reacting to the rebound instead of Swaggy. Meanwhile, Kemba’s moment features these guys, all of whom realize Walker’s mistake before he does.
These cringing fans give Kemba the point and the victory.
WINNER: Kemba Walker, thanks to the shimmy and the horror of cringing fans.
Kudos to Kemba, who took a Mona Lisa and made it better.