INDIANAPOLIS — LeBron James is an original in plenty of ways, but he doesn't claim ownership of everything.
Last season, after he began regularly symbolically pressing down on the floor after making a shot to shut up a hostile crowd, he made sure to attribute the action to a predecessor. After all, a certain former Lakers, Nuggets, Mavericks, Warriors, Blazers and Spurs guard was well known for use of the reverse "raise the roof" to punctuate whatever he'd done.
"Yeah, I'm on my Nick Van Exel thing right now, anybody who knows the history of the game," James said last February in Chicago. "The fans are always on me on the road, they stay on me, they continue to say I can’t shoot the ball, I can’t shoot."
Van Exel, who retired in 2006, is now a Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach. His celebratory legacy now lives on not only through James but in the football world as well.
Cam Newton has done it a couple of times, most notably a few weeks ago in South Florida, after scoring a touchdown against the Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium (roughly 30 miles from where James plays). The Carolina Panthers quarterback actually combined it, in all its stomping glory, with his own Superman ripping-the-shirt-off gesture:
This was seen by some as a slight, after James and teammate Dwyane Wade did the Superman in front of a courtside-sitting Newton in Charlotte in 2011:
Over the weekend, James told Bleacher Report that he's seen Newton's version and liked it.
"We've got a good relationship," James said.
James has also noticed others incorporating it.
"I've seen (Julian) Edelman from the Patriots," James said. "I've seen someone else do it—oh, Dwayne Bowe (of the Chiefs) did it. Carlos Hyde (of Ohio State) did it, too. It's pretty cool, man. I watch football, I'm a huge football fan, and to see what I do on the court can translate to the NFL, that's pretty cool."
As a Cowboys fan, James likely wouldn't mind seeing Dez Bryant do it a couple of times in the end zone on Monday night, when Bryant faces Wade's favorite team, the Bears.
Ethan Skolnick covers the Heat for Bleacher Report.