Basketball is like religion.
It's multidenominational. There are varying schools of thought, dissenting opinions and perspectives in the religion of roundball. We basketball followers gather in differing places of worship: gyms, playgrounds, arenas, living rooms. And like all other religions, there are prominent voices that lead us during service. Hubie Brown is revered as if he were our pope. Mike Breen's "BANG!" is our amen. And for those of us who worship online, "filayyyy" has recently become our hallelujah.
The creator of that unmistakable catchphrase (filayyyy is short for filet mignon) is 25-year-old New Jersey native Jesse Jones, known on social media as @Filayyyy. In this era in which we're flooded by sports commentary and have unprecedented access to game footage, Filayyyy has emerged with a voice that is distinctively his own.
Not only is his commentary hilarious and entertaining, it's insightful due to his background as an NCAA hooper. His one-of-a-kind style consists of a rapid-fire, stop-and-go cadence highlighted by melodic runs. It's half preacher, half R&B singer and unlike any commentary we've ever heard. Filayyyy often doubles back and comments on his own commentary—a brilliant move in which he not only serves as both the preacher and the congregation.
He's an evangelical of sorts—no stage is too small or too big for him to spread his word. You can find Filayyyy commentating on everything from grade school kids to Kevin Durant. He boasts a devout following that includes prominent members like LeBron James, Jaylen Brown, Carmelo Anthony, JR Smith and Victor Oladipo.
The book of Filayyyy starts from humble beginnings. What he has now dubbed the #FilayyyyMovement began on a June night in 2015 while watching the NBA Finals. After witnessing Stephen Curry dance on Matthew Dellavedova and wet him up from three in a pivotal moment of that series, he posted a video with his now-trademark commentary. Three years later, "filayyyy" is a staple in basketball's vernacular to loyal disciples.
He's experienced a meteoric rise, with appearances at the NBA All-Star Game and even a Nike ad starring Kyrie Irving. But Filayyyy is nowhere near done preaching and growing his congregation. We are witnessing a sermon unlike any other.
Take your time, pastor.
Dragonfly Jonez is kind of a big deal on Twitter. His tweets on rap, Washington football and the sad state of the New York Knicks probably end up in your timeline whether or not you follow him. Catch him on Twitter @DragonflyJonez or on the Jenkins & Jonez Podcast.
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