Heavy is the head that wears the crown.
For many years, LeBron James has gone by the nickname "King James" to reflect his status as arguably the NBA's biggest star. Now, he has broken out a new celebration in reference to his place among basketball royalty.
In the Lakers' regular season finale against the Jazz on Sunday, he buried a deep 3-pointer to put the game to bed with less than 40 seconds left. It took his tally to eight 3-pointers and 36 points in what was the final game of his 20th regular season in the league.
After draining the long shot, he celebrated by gesturing as if he was placing a crown on his head.
LeBron James crown celebration video
LeBron James from the logo and then proceeds to put the crown on his head 👑 pic.twitter.com/cnfLpPOutT— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) April 9, 2023
Where does LeBron's crown celebration come from?
James has had his fair share of iconic celebrations through the years, including most notably his famous "silencer." But this is the first time we've seen him celebrate with a direct reference to his King James nickname during a game.
However, he isn't even the first player to break out the "crown" celebration in the NBA. Giannis Antetokounmpo actually did it in a game against LeBron and the Lakers back in 2019, which led some to accuse the Greek Freak of disrespecting King James. For his part, Antetokounmpo has said he meant no offense with the celebration.
"It was nothing against LeBron," he told ESPN's Malika Andrews. "That's my last name. 'Ante' means crown. 'Tokounmpo,' that was my father's name, his Nigerian name. … The whole meaning of it is 'the crown that comes from overseas.'"
Giannis on crowning himself king in front of LeBron James back in 2019:— 𝐓𝐚𝐥𝐤𝐢𝐧' 𝐍𝐁𝐀 (@_Talkin_NBA) September 21, 2022
"It was nothing against LeBron. That's my last name. It means crown."
h/t @malika_andrews #NBATwitter #FearTheDeer https://t.co/iBwH8sVIpB pic.twitter.com/vtG3XKQgM0
In 2021, James was also crowned by his Lakers teammate Avery Bradley during an overtime win against the Pacers. He scored 39 points in that game, including several clutch stepback 3s.
Avery Bradley has now taken the role of the one who puts the crown on LeBron pic.twitter.com/JUFsQPjaMp— Jacob Rude (@JacobRude) November 25, 2021
Now, it seems James has adopted it as his own. He has certainly earned the right to claim the throne, passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA's all-time leading scorer earlier this season.
We'll have to wait and see if he breaks out the crown celebration again in the future.