Cultural Evolution and Diffusion in Basketball

The Wall Street Journal examines the origins and spread of basketball’s “three-point goggles” – this year’s biggest fad among the players:

As you’ll see in the NCAA tournament this week, players on teams from Duke to Kentucky will celebrate three-point buckets by fitting themselves with pantomimed spectacles, the kind your kindergartener might make while pretending to be a superhero.

To make the gesture, players form the ‘A-OK’ sign over both eyes to form “goggles” with their thumbs and forefingers, and (to denote the change in the score) stick the other three fingers up in the air.

And where did this cultural item begin?

The goggles started earlier this season in Portland as a joke. Patty Mills, a guard for the NBA’s Trail Blazers, liked to tease teammate Rudy Fernandez about his poor eyesight. “I’d always give him a little bit—well, not a little bit, but a lot of grief for not being able to see,” Mills said. In the first half of one particular game, Fernandez struggled from long range. Mills said he told Fernandez at halftime that he needed glasses or contact lenses—something.

After halftime, Fernandez hit a few three-pointers. He turned to Mills on the bench and brought his pointer finger and thumb together in a circle over his eyes, with his three other fingers extended upward. “It was like, ‘I don’t need glasses. I’ve got these three goggles that work perfectly,'” Mills said.

One Response to “Cultural Evolution and Diffusion in Basketball”

  1. Jason Huper March 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm Permalink

    Samuel god damn jackson!