NCAA March Madness: Kentucky
Archery Celebration NCAA March Madness: Kentucky Archery Celebration

Kentucky basketball player Jamal Murray is getting famous for his 3-point celebrations. When he hits those long-range shots, Murray pantomimes reaching into a back quiver, grabbing an arrow and letting it fly.

This bow-and-arrow celebration originated with Wesley Matthews of the Dallas Mavericks, who started the air-bow shot when playing for the Portland Trail Blazers. Matthews’ now-famous move debuted in a Trail Blazers’ game against the Knicks in December 2014.

Mavs.com discussed how players on the Dallas bench contribute to Matthews’ celebration:

mavs_bench_-mavs

“It’s hard to tell because he’s sitting down, but Devin Harris discreetly let an arrow of his own fly. The vet is seasoned enough to know that there’s no time for serious bow and arrow work when icing your ankles, but he’s creative enough to make it work while sitting down – also making sure not to hit anyone in the process.”

Matthews and Murray have inspired their whole team to rally around the celebrations. They sometimes act as additional props. The Courier-Journal recalled a scene in a Kentucky game against LSU:

Photo Credit: Courier Journal

Photo Credit: Courier Journal

“Jamal Murray’s now routine bow and arrow celebration after a made 3-pointer ended with (EJ) Floreal pretending to have been shot by the imaginary arrow. As (John) David supported Floreal’s limp body, (Mychal) Mulder then pretended to bring him back to life with a defibrillator.”

Floreal, a UK reserve guard, is credited with bringing Matthews’ celebration technique to the team. “I like how he plays,” Floreal said. “He shoots the bow and arrow after every 3. I just said, ‘I’m going to bring it to college.’”

Forward Tai Wynyard also credits the show Arrow for inspiring the celebration. “We all watch this Netflix show called ‘Arrow,’” Wynyard said. “EJ being the dude he is – a crazy, funny kind of guy – got us all involved. Kind of made up this funny celebration type thing, and it obviously worked.”

Murray is now called the “Blue Arrow,” in reference to the DC comic-book character, the Green Arrow. Stephen Amell plays the Green Arrow on the CW’s show Arrow. Murray got a shout-out from half of the movie’s creators on Sunday, March 13. Amell sent Murray this tweet: “@BeMore27 Keep your elbow up in the tourney and beyond. ”

The bow and arrow routine isn’t just for UK team members. Young players also get into the spirit. Kentucky Sports Radio posted this video of a Lexington boy demonstrating his “Blue Arrow” skills.

For fans of Murray (or Kentucky basketball, in general), Throwboy Tees and Kentucky Branded have T-shirts inspired by the “Blue Arrow.”

Watch for the “Blue Arrow” during March Madness, with Kentucky’s run beginning Thursday, March 17.

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