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The Miami Heat Harlem Shake Video Was Actually Pretty Good, So Let’s Power Rank The Performances
Just when it seemed like “Harlem Shake” had been shipped off to the viral graveyard for a lunch date in the Internet afterlife with “Gangnam Style“, “Antoine Dodson” and the “I like Turtles” kid, LeBron James and his crew of flunkies single-handedly zapped that now (well, maybe always) annoying Baauer tune back into to the public consciousness for another few days. Mainly, because it’s so damn entertaining.
The premise is simple. Take a once-popular fad, inject a budget, some of sports’ most recognizable faces, and BOOM. A once stale concept is given new life. The problem with the passel of previous “Shake” videos is that we didn’t care about the individuals in them. So what if some dude is doing the Electric Slide with a snake around his neck, looking all Jake Roberts-like, he’s still just some nameless guy. But, since we’re familiar with the people in this video, we absorb it the same way we do Short Cuts, or any Robert Altman flick for that matter.
King James is clearly the star, but the real intrigue rests with the slew of supporting players and what they’re up to in the background. If LeBron is like Tim Robbins in the opening scene of The Player, Rashard Lewis is the debate Fred Ward has with the studio messenger about the greatest, unedited opening tracking shot film history (Ward is right btw, it is Touch Of Evil). There’s so much going in every scene, the best parts are the understated, little moments designed to add depth. This is the first, and only, time the Heat will ever be praised for its depth. Here are those moments.
#5 – Birdman Pose Down
Chris Andersen truly understands what it means to be a role player. Amidst the insanity unfolding in front of him, he resigns himself to standing stationary, in a locker, looking like a stand in for Demolition.
#4 – The Championship Belt
Wrestling Championship titles have become the go to celebration tool for an assortment of athletes. Just ask Aaron Rodgers and Clinton Portis. The standard has been the old NWA/WCW belt, though. So it’s nice to see the WWE Championship make a cameo. That by itself is a unique touch. But on closer inspection, this is no ordinary championship – it’s the customized John Cena spinner, circa 2009. Glorious. Now, if someone could only sport the early-90s Intercontinental belt, I could die happy.
#3 – MASKS
Where did they find all these masks? Does Erik Spoelstra have a guy, or as a part of its post-game routine, do the Heat stage the world’s goofiest production of Eyes Wide Shut? But they’ve covered all the bases here. The entire team must be bummed when they play on Monday nights and have to miss RAW because another bit of WWE merchandise pops up: The Rey Mysterio mask. There’s a split tribute to Kanye with Dywane Wade prancing around as Huggy Bear 2.0 and some unidentifiable Heat player donning the Stunna Shades over his false face. And of course, Ray Allen looking like he’s on his way to audition for the lead in “Gay Phantom”. But none compare to…
I love the horse head. It was hilarious when DeAndre Jordan used it to terrify the masses, just as much as when The Challenge contestants were forced to run in it while pulling a faux-chariot. So it’s clearly the best of the bunch on that alone. But couple it with the Neil Armstrong garb and dancing like the robot guy from Chappelle Show, and it soars above the rest.
#2 – Bin Push
Despite an appearance directly in front in the lens, the bin push goes unnoticed on first watch because of LeBron’s extreme closeup mugging. Still, kudos to these two for doing something different. The standard for background Harlem Shaking generally just consists of standing in one place and miming the hand gestures of a psychic using a crystal ball. I wonder though, for someone that’s over 6’5″, how painful was it to squeeze into such a little box?
#1 Norris Cole’s Sartorial Choice
When the Heat vote on team MVP at the end of the season there will only be two choices: LeBron James and this outfit.
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