The evolution of the 3-point shot over the last decade has truly been remarkable. It has changed the game tremendously and placed the emphasis on a pace-and-space offense in today’s game. This is the type of offense the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers run. If you notice, those are four of the best teams in the NBA, and it is because their offenses are efficient and high-scoring.
The main point of these offenses is to try and take a lot of layups, dunks and 3-point shots, while eliminating the mid-range game. Since these types of offenses are becoming the new norm, that means there of plenty of 3-point shots being attempted and made. With so many 3-point makes, this allows for more opportunities to celebrate a make. Let’s look at the 10 best 3-point celebrations, in no particular order, by current NBA players.
Wesley Matthews bow and arrow
Let me start by saying this is my personal favorite. It is so simple, but also extremely effective.
The reason I like this the most is that Matthews does this celebration after every single attempt, no matter the score or the time in the game. Some of the celebrations that I go over only come out in big moments, but Matthews is consistent with his dedication to the celebration.
The three-and-D wingman from the Dallas Mavericks has a career 38.3 3-point percentage and over 1,300 three’s in his NBA career. This celebration originated while he was with the Portland Trail Blazers in a game in 2014 and has carried over until now.
In many cases when he makes a three, the Dallas bench will also erupt and shoot arrows in response.
(Jamal Murray, a second-year shooting guard for the Denver Nuggets, also does this celebration but Matthews started it first and has been doing it longer.)
Russell Westbrook holster the guns
Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook’s celebrations are just as primal and ferocious as his dunks.
Even though Westbrook is a prolific offensive player who can score at will, he is not the best three-point shooter. In fact, most would consider him to be below average with a career average of 31.3 percent from three. This does not mean he hasn’t hit some HUGE three’s in his career, which leads to the celebration at hand.
Westbrook enjoys to pretend he is a wild west cowboy, and instead of guns he holsters three fingers.
Jason Terry gotta jet
Although TNT analyst and former Houston Rocket great Kenny Smith is known as “The Jet,” Jason Terry is known for the celebration where he pretends to be a jet.
The current Milwaukee Bucks shooting guard is enjoying his 19th year in the NBA. He has been mostly a secondary piece on multiple playoff teams. He won a championship in 2011 with the Dallas Mavericks over the Miami Heat’s super team.
During that playoff run, his 3-point “jet” celebration became popular. I remember copying the celebration while playing basketball in eighth grade. (But I only did it in practice, because I played like 20 total minutes the whole season).
D’Angelo Russell ice in his veins
D’Angelo Russell has had an inconsistent career so far, but he has shown the potential to be an explosive scorer and offensive player.
What has been the most consistent part of Russell’s career is his absolute fire celebrations. After hitting a late three-pointer in a 39-point performance with the Lakers, he pointed to his veins to show everyone they were filled with ice.
Recently back from injury, it’s good to see the now Brooklyn Nets point guard back on the court.
Although he hasn’t had the chance to break out this celebration yet this season, you can count on it at some point in the second half of the year when he is fully healthy and back to playing like he was pre-injury.
Danilo Gallinari “bellissimo”
Danilo Gallinari is the best Italian ever to play in the NBA. He has been long considered one of the better secondary scoring options in the league when healthy, which has been a problem for him over the past few years.
Gallinari has averaged 15.3 points per game in his career and has shot over 36 percent from deep.
In a game against the Utah Jazz two years ago, Gallinari broke out the Italian kiss celebration after hitting a three that effectively put the nail in the coffin for the game.
The Italians have a flair for the dramatic, which means when Gallinari bangs a shot in a big moment, watch out for the kiss.
James Harden stir the pot
Originally the dance of rapper Lil B, Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden has adopted the celebration into his own.
Harden finished second in the MVP race last year and is one of the contenders again this year. He has had plenty of moments to break out the celebration.
He usually breaks it out when he goes on a personal scoring run by himself or when he hits a big-time three down the stretch. You will see the MVP candidate stir up something special.
Carmelo Anthony 3 to the head
One of the most recognizable and classic celebrations in the NBA, Carmelo Anthony’s 3 to the head celebration is as good as it gets. Take the 3-point fingers and bang them against your head a few times and you are instantly Melo.
The former NBA scoring champ and current small forward for the Oklahoma City Thunder popularized the celebration in Madison Square Garden while with the New York Knicks.
It is as swaggy of a 3-point celebration as you are gonna get.
J.R. Smith celebration of any kind
This is sort of cheating, but any 3-point celebration J.R. Smith has broken out has burned down the arena, so I felt I had to include more than one.
Smith is a mercurial shooting guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He is one of the streakiest shooters in the NBA.
Once he gets hot, watch out, because he will pull threes and hit from anywhere.
Here are his three best celebrations to date
He has skipped down the court, which is quite simple, but very swag if done right.
He has played an air guitar solo at center court after hitting a deep three while with the Knicks.
Finally, he has 3-point strutted all the way down the court after hitting a three over Kobe Bryant in the 2009 Western Conference Finals.
J.R. is a national treasure and must be protected at all costs.
Dion Waiters crossed arms
Dion Waiters is another player who is one of the streakiest love-hate players in the NBA. He told his Syracuse teammates to refer to him as “Kobe Wade.” He did this because he thinks of himself as a combination of all-time shooting guards Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant.
His confidence level is always sky high, no matter if he is 0-for-11 or 11-for-11 from the field.
The Miami Heat shooting guard broke out his stare down celebration after hitting the game-winning three against the Golden State Warriors in the 2016-17 regular season.
“If anybody would hit a game winner against me, it would be Dion Waiters” -Kevin Durant
LeBron James load the glock
Last, but not least, is one of the most electric celebrations I have ever seen. It was during the 2015 NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors.
LeBron James brought down the house after hitting a late 3-pointer and then capped it off my locking and loading his imaginary glock.
Although the Cavaliers eventually lost this Finals series, we did get one of the best three-point celebrations of all-time.
BONUS: Best celebrations for missed shots
Nick “Swaggy P” Young Kemba Walker
All GIFs above courtesy of GIPHY.com
Featured photo by Getty Images
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