The “Dab” Heard Around the World


By Logan Hancock | @logan_hancock
Producer/Editor of social media video content
Member of Ball State Sports Link


Hello sports culture, meet pop-culture.

Cam Dabbin
Cam Newton demonstrating the “Dab” dance.

In a time of human existence where social media basically runs our every day lives, popular culture has never been more predominant in the world of sports.

Everybody wants to be heard, and everybody wants to have a presence on the world wide web. Athletes are no exception. Pop-culture mixed with a social media presence allows athletes at the collegiate and professional level to have a platform and a “voice.”

In today’s “smartphone” based society, it seems as if most people (myself included) have the attention span of a small child. It’s all about what is trending right now. It’s all about the hottest new song or dance, and who can come up with the most creative interpretation of it.

The “Dab” dance is the latest that American pop-culture has to offer, and the sports world just can’t get enough of it.

As I watched the New England Patriots take on the Denver Broncos a couple of nights ago on Sunday night football, I counted six or seven different players “hit the dab” after making a great play.

LeBron Dabbing
One of the greatest athletes in the world, LeBron James, has been spotted partaking in the “Dab” dance trend.

With millions and millions of people watching their favorite athletes celebrate, the now famous dance move doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon.

For those of you that have been living under a rock and don’t know what a “Dab” is, I shall do my best to explain it for you. In simple terms, the dab is done by simultaneously tilting your head and lifting your forearm to up to your head. Seems simple right? However, it has to done with “swagger” of course in order to be effective.

According to, the dance actually originated in Atlanta over this past summer when the rap group “Migos” created the dance. After that, the popular rap artist “Future” was seen “Dabbin'” at some of his concerts and there you go, you have the dab in all its glory.

It has taken a little while for the dance to transfer from the world of hip-hop to the world of sports, but it has now without a doubt officially taken over.

Bengals’ running back Jeremy Hill shows a better example here below of a “Dab” better than I can explain with my words.

While the earliest recorded “Dab” in the NFL was back in September, the real craze all started two weeks ago when Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton dove into the end-zone for a game sealing touchdown against the Titans. Newton “hit the dab” in the middle of his touchdown celebration and Tennessee Titans’ defenders did not take the celebration lightly.

Avery Williamson, Titans linebacker, got up into Newton’s face and had a few choice words about what he felt like to be an excessive celebration. The two were separated, and the game went on about its merry way as the Panthers tacked on another win to add to their undefeated record.

After the game against the Titans, Cam Newton was questioned in a press conference about the incident involving his celebration “antics.”

Newton responded by saying, “I’m a firm believer if you don’t like it, keep me out (of the end zone).”

Boom. Shots fired. The NFL “dab” phenomenon is fully born.

As I mentioned before, certain athletes have a platform for their voice to be heard through social media outlets. Cam Newton has quite a few eyes and ears on him because of the success of his undefeated Panthers, and his MVP type performances throughout this NFL season.

The social media world (a sometimes very mysterious place) took Cam Newton’s “dab” and ran with it. It became a trending topic within a matter of minutes all over Twitter, and Facebook.

Some people love Newton’s touchdown celebrations and dance moves. On the other side of the fence, some people hate it. Cam Newton even received a letter from an angry mother of a young NFL fan who claimed that the dance move was “unsportsmanlike” and “unethical.”

Regardless of how you feel about the dance, it’s hot right now. Cam Newton is just one of the many reasons for the dance’s newfound popularity in the sports world. Absolutely everyone is doing it. When I say everyone, I mean EVERYONE who is anyone.

Not just athletes are having fun with the new trend, even coaches have had some fun of their own.

Dabo Swinney, Clemson Tigers football coach, has his team at the top of the college football world with a number one ranking. Yep, you guessed it, he is one of the many coaches that has hit the dab in the locker room after a big win. His dance moves were named “Dabbin’ Swinney” by the Clemson players and social media users around the world.

Personally, I am a fan of the new trend. It’s fun, it allows people to express themselves, and it really doesn’t hurt anyone (sorry to the lady who has a son who is mad because the Panthers beat down the Titans).

It’s officially dab season, let the dance have its moment. It will die out eventually just as the legendary whip (made famous by Odell Beckham Jr.) did after quite a lengthy run.

However, until then don’t be afraid to dab along as your favorite player scores a touchdown or makes a clutch basket. As the one and only Cam Newton  said recently in a press conference, “dab on them folks.”




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