This weekend, the Ice Bucket Challenge went viral as pro athletes and regular guys like us helped raise awareness for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, by posting clips of themselves being doused with ice cold water. According to Topsy, #IceBucketChallenge recorded almost 460,000 mentions on Twitter alone in the past seven days. The ALS Association reported that it had received more than $15.6-million in donations, a number that’s still growing.
Of course, it couldn’t have happened without help from some of the NBA’s most socially-minded players. Several ballers were nominated to participate by their colleagues and other celebrities, and in turn nominated others. Herein, we track the, well, coolest nominations in the NBA as they moved up to include the biggest superstars in the game and beyond.
As far as we can tell, J.R. Smith was one of the first NBA players to receive a nomination—he got his at the hands of Monmouth University footballer Dimitrius Smith (no relation) four days ago. After mugging it out with his tattoos on display as what sounds like his son videotaped, Smith nominated NBA MVP Kevin Durant, Chris Paul (whose icing can be found here) and Carmelo Anthony to go next.
Unlike many athletes to take the challenge, Kevin Durant toughed it out when his friend dumped ice water over his head. In turn, KD moved the challenge up the ladder to even bigger names, calling out his friend Russell Westbrook, LeBron James and Kendrick Perkins (who can be seen doused here).
Newly-returned Cleveland Cavalier LeBron James answered the call of the Ice Bucket Challenge while cruising aboard a yacht, and he posted the resulting clip to his Instagram account. He was called out by a raft of guys, including NBA MVP Kevin Durant and comedian Kevin Hart, who has played his share of celebrity All-Star games. After the deed was done, LeBron ran off screen screaming, but not before nominating a few fellows himself. Sure, plenty of players nominated President Obama, but King James is about the only guy we know who could do so with a straight face—and in the same sentence as calling out his own two sons. Let that sink in for a second.
This wasn’t the prettiest Ice Bucket Challenge, nor was it the most in-focus. But it is quite possibly the only time in recent history that we have seen Russell Westbrook not wearing an outlandish shirt or pushing the boundaries of menswear. He instead stood before the denizens of the internet, both literally and metaphorically bare. After Westbrook’s bucketing, he threw nominations at Ray Westbrook (his brother), Eric Maynor and James Harden, the latter of which kept things going.
Rather than go at it alone, James Harden replied to Westbrook in the company of DeMar DeRozan, DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and a slew of other basketball players, all who were simultaneously iced while sitting on a bench together. You’d think with a roster like that, calling out Obama, Adam Silver and Oprah would have gotten more results, but nah. It took Tyler Perry to snag Oprah and the entire Miami Heat team to get Silver, whose self-icing was particularly anticlimatic. Finally, Obama declined their offer, but he did promise a hefty donation to ALS.