Washington Wizards Might Abandon Backfiring, MJ-Like Shoulder Shrug Celebration

Ben LeibowitzCorrespondent IIIMarch 21, 2014

Mar 18, 2014; Sacramento, CA, USA; Washington Wizards forward Drew Gooden (90) reacts after scoring a basket against the Sacramento Kings during the fourth quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The Sacramento Kings defeated the Washington Wizards 117-111 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Drew Gooden has proven himself to be a solid late-season pickup for the Washington Wizards, but his Michael Jordan-esque shoulder shrug appears to be doing more harm than good.

After commemorating made buckets with a gesture familiar to diehard and casual NBA fans alike, Gooden clarified his reasoning behind it to reporters. “That ain’t the MJ. It’s kind of like, ‘What I got to do? What else I got to do?’” Gooden said.

While the 32-year-old veteran’s on-court antics seem to be all in good fun, Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins wasn’t laughing on March 18. Gooden’s shrugs triggered “Boogie” to explode for 19 fourth-quarter points, leading a manic comeback that culminated in a 117-111 overtime win for Sac-Town.

SB Nation’s Dan Rubenstein broke down the back-and-forth as follows:

Cousins admitted to the Associated Press (h/t The Washington Post's Dan Steinberg) that he was irked by the Wizards' power forward after the game.

"Well, it kind of [annoyed me] when he did the little shrug after hitting the three,” he said. “I mean, it was a good shot I guess, but it’s whatever.”

Gooden knows that his celebrations may have cost Washington the win.

“We got to get away from the shrug because guys coming in scoring 19 in the fourth quarter. If that fueled him, then we got to try something else,” he said.

Although his eccentricity has taken the main stage, Gooden is showcasing skills that make him a viable NBA role player. That wasn't the case during his recent stint with the Milwaukee Bucks, as Bleacher Report's Grant Hughes pointed out:

Teams around the league saw his statistical decline last season and assumed he was nearing the end of his NBA road. But it seems Gooden's 3.3 points and 1.9 rebounds in just 16 games for the Bucks had more to do with the environment in Milwaukee than any dip in ability.

The former Kansas standout is averaging 19 points and eight rebounds in his past three games, but the Wizards are 1-2 during that span. While his presence has been huge in the absence of Nene, it’s time for him to shelve anything that could be misconstrued as showboating.

The lesson, as always: Don’t make Boogie Cousins angry—for any reason.