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I Can't Feel My Face Interpretations

Getty Images.

With DeShawn Stevenson suddenly the biggest offensive star in D.C. (sorry Todd), the DeShawn "I Can't Feel My Face" waggle has earned some recent media attention. As in this AP photo caption, kindly provided by Reader Michael S., which describes DeShawn thus:

"Washington Wizards' DeShawn Stevenson waves his hand in front of his face after he hit a basket against the Sacramento Kings."

Well, yeah. That's the literal approach, I guess, which also showed up in a recent AP game story: "The scene repeated itself often. DeShawn Stevenson would make a jumper, then wave his right hand over his face. It's his customary celebration."

Oh, that AP. Such tantalizingly delicious prose. Luckily, Tom Knott gets more lyrical wit it, to wit:

Maybe DeShawn Stevenson needs to see a neurologist because of the medical condition involving his face.

Whenever Stevenson is unable to feel his face, often after hitting a 3-pointer, he succumbs to a series of spastic-like gestures with his right hand. This is to let the team's supporters know that he has no feeling in his face at this particular moment in the game and that he is trying to persevere in the clutches of a rare ailment.

Um. Right. In terms of face non-feeling, we come back, as always, not to neurological disorders but to the oft-cited Internet insistence that "I Can't Feel My Face" refers to cocaine usage, as in this quote from "Blow": "I can't feel my face... I mean, I can touch it, but I can't feel it inside...."

But although DeShawn made the "I Can't Feel My Face" t-shirts and wrote the phrase on his shoes, he certainly never referred to illicit drugs (or neurological disorders), and instead credited the move to Tony Yayo's dance steps. And when Yayo was asked about the waggle, he in turn credited the move to 50 Cent's son:

Although the movement looks strikingly similar to WWE heavyweight champ John Cena's "You can't see me" move, Yayo says he came up with it after hanging with 50 Cent's little boy, Marquise.

"Me and 50's son created that when I was on the run," he explained. "I had nothing better to do. I was in the house, and we was playing around."

Which means that really, the AP and Tom Knott and whoever else tackles this subject as DeShawn surges toward the top of the NBA scoring charts in upcoming days should give credit where credit is due: to some 10-year-old kid named 25 Cent.

By Dan Steinberg  |  December 18, 2007; 10:46 AM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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Next: Fred Smoot's Media Boycott


Dexter Manley could not feel his face for the entire decade of the eighties.

Posted by: onside kick | December 18, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I can't feel my legs when I really bring it at work.

Posted by: WaPoLiveFan16 | December 18, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Funny thing is, Joe Bugel often does the same thing at practice for reasons unknown.

Posted by: | December 18, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

you sort of get the same 'can't feel my face' feeling when you're absolutely wasted drunk...

Posted by: NoFaceFeeling | December 18, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I often wonder if Tom Knott can feel his face when he's typing out his ridiculous columns.

Posted by: gidge | December 18, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Steinz, you need to get a comment from Lil' Wayne

Posted by: Unsilent Majority | December 18, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Fastbowlers in cricket, particularly in the West Indies, have been using this celebration for years. See: Corey Collymore or Jerome Taylor.

Posted by: Scroot | December 18, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Tim Thomas does this move too. It started in Phoenix when he came over from Chicago. Alvin Gentry (I think, or it may have been a different assistant coach) used to run at Thomas while he shot 3's in practice, mocking a hand in his face. Gentry would also yell at Thomas and generally try to distract him. Thomas started doing the "waving hand in his face" routine after 3's in-game to reflect the fact that he couldn't be distracted on shots.

I assume this has to be the case with Stevenson.

Posted by: Josh T | December 18, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

^assumption wrong

its called hip-hop (and in yayo's case, i do use the loosest definition(s) available of the word) - look it up sometime.

Posted by: pack4life | December 18, 2007 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Tony "Yayo" made it up and it has nothing to do with cocaine?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2007 9:31 PM | Report abuse

My nick name for deshawn will be also a wierd reference like the AP guys have. My nick name for him is Anna nicole or Pamela anderson. They all have botox and plastic surgery done and with all the not feeling his face deshawns going through it's almost like he has botox done and will need surgery done to repair the damage to his face

Posted by: bruceO | December 19, 2007 3:45 AM | Report abuse

wheres the place where we make wierd nick young nicknames. SOmeone said on the other post how nick young always making up stuff. If deshawn doesnt want the anna nick-ole (yeah I made a pun) nickname it fits nick too and I wouldn't put him past using it. Also everytime he steps on the floor I yell NICK YIZZLE! or think there goes young luke skywalker. anyway I'l look for the nickname section and post the nickname ideas there

Posted by: bruceO | December 19, 2007 3:49 AM | Report abuse

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