Jeff Green had just claimed a victim. He caught Myles Turner, the NBA’s leading shot-blocker, off balance and threw down a booming dunk with one hand.
Usually among the most stoic players on the Wizards, Green shot a look to the Wizards bench and pushed his hands up in the air. He raised the roof and smiled as he ran down the floor.
The Wizards’ bench loved it, and especially Thomas Bryant, who has made a habit of the celebration famous from the 1990s.
Bryant has raised the roof on and off this season after big dunks, including on Friday night in the Wizards’ win at the Orlando Magic, when he did it several times.
Now Green has caught the wave.
“I really don’t know where that came from,” Green said after dropping 23 points in a win over the Pacers on Wednesday night.
“After I dunked it, I just looked over and he was the first person I saw. You know, the play moved me to raise the roof.”
Bryant is always excited. But seeing Green return the celebratory favor really got him going. He raised the roof back and smiled ear-to-ear when asked about it after the game.
“I get hype all the time, but he was hype right there so he just did it,” Bryant told NBC Sports Washington. “It’s catching on, so I like it.”
Bryant said he started doing the move over the offseason in his summer workouts. He has brought it back this season and finds it funny it has now spread.
There is also a big coincidence in all of it. Wizards season ticket holder Walter Wiggins famously pumps up the crowd at each home game by raising the roof. Though Bryant is well-aware of Wiggins’ moves, he says it’s not the reason why he does it.
“I know exactly who you’re talking about,” Bryant said of Wiggins. “I’ve noticed him. That’s what everyone has been telling me, that he’s been doing it for years, ever since they can remember.”
Bryant’s youthful energy has been contagious for the Wizards. He’s a 21-year-old second-year pro, yet he has Green, a 32-year-old, jaded veteran of 11 NBA seasons, imitating him.
Green admitted after Wednesday’s win he can’t help but feed off of Bryant’s passion for the game.
”That’s him 24/7. We love it,” Green said. “That’s what he brings to this team. I always tell the young guys to just be yourself. That’s what he does.”
Green helped lead the way in the Wizards’ win over Indiana. So did Bradley Beal, who had 25 points, six assists and six rebounds in 31 minutes.
That earned Beal a walk-off interview with ESPN, one that Bryant was very excited for. He jumped up and down in the background and made a great video for social media in the process.
That’s just Thomas, Beal says.
“I have never seen him not bouncing off a wall,” Beal said. “Sometimes I have to calm him down, he be too hype. But we need that. His positive vibes and positive energy, we feed off that so it’s great.”