Inside the Sixers: The origins of Sixers' 'Show Ya Luv' slogan
It could be worse: Players on the Orlando Magic have vowed to "grow playoff beards." The 76ers are embracing a rallying point much softer on the eyes. The team's impending playoff slogan, "Show Ya Luv," has grown organically since season's beginning. The saying wasn't intended as a marketing ploy - if it were, it would have died
It could be worse: Players on the Orlando Magic have vowed to "grow playoff beards."
The 76ers are embracing a rallying point much softer on the eyes. The team's impending playoff slogan, "Show Ya Luv," has grown organically since season's beginning. The saying wasn't intended as a marketing ploy - if it were, it would have died a quick death - but rather sprouted from a team joke, which turned into inside-circle slang, which then blossomed into a cord of unity solidifying the team's newfound camaraderie.
If you're on Twitter, you've likely seen the hashtag: #showyaluv. You can thank big man Marreese Speights for bringing it to social media. If you're not on Twitter but watch the local news, you've probably seen a quick segment on what this thing's all about.
The saying is used after a particularly good play, especially one that forces the opposition to call timeout. And the saying is accompanied by a hand gesture that approximates flashing the peace sign while loosely incorporating the thumb. When showing your love, always use your right hand even if you're a lefty like Thaddeus Young.
But what's important, more than just the origin story, is how seamlessly this motto reflects the season.
It began during an exchange between Lou Williams and rookie Evan Turner. Although only in his first season, Turner carries himself like he's part owner, and it wouldn't take a sociologist to note Turner's penchant for responding to advice or a critique with an explanation or justification. Rare is the occasion when Turner absorbs and nods without offering his own take on exactly what happened.
Turner had trouble finding his place in the locker room. His on-court struggles reflected this disconnect.
So when Williams addressed Turner about some miscommunication, or lapse, or flawed execution and it wasn't met with a response, this was a surprising event for Williams, like turning on the TV but not hearing the audio.
"What's wrong man, show your love," Lou remembers saying. Or maybe it was "ain't you gonna show your love?"
For reasons beyond explanation - this being an inside joke to which we must not be privy - surrounding players found this humorous. The saying stuck. For a time, it was used only as a team joke, perhaps said to lighten any tense interaction.
As it began morphing into what we see now, Turner embraced the saying, just as he began embracing the team. And the team him.
The saying's first affirmative usage focused on the exploits of shooting guard Jodie Meeks. Williams, point guard Jrue Holiday, Meeks, and, to some extent, Turner form a "little clique" within the team. All four are approximately the same age, with Williams - frighteningly enough - serving as the elder statesman.
In opening the season with a record of 3-13, the Sixers were without a starting shooting guard. Coach Doug Collins cycled through his roster for the correct starting lineup, eventually testing the previously seldom-used Meeks. The guys themselves, though, never seemed to be sleeping on Meeks' abilities, despite Meeks' being deactivated for a few early-season games.
When he did play, he was shown the love. With a proclivity for dropping consecutive outside shots, something not seen since the departure of Kyle Korver, Meeks became more than just a rah-rah garbage-time guy. He became the starting shooting guard.
But because a Meeks three-pointer quickly became a common occurrence rather than a special event, "showing luv" after each one seemed excessive, like delivering a standing ovation after hearing each song on the radio. The saying was shown to anybody, but reserved for exceptional plays.
The last two guys embracing the motto, if Williams were forced to pinpoint two, were Jason Kapono and Tony Battie. Not because they disliked showing love. In Battie's case, he's usually on the end of the bench with a heating pack wrapped around his lower back. He can't stand and deliver the love, so he resorts to one long, extended arm from the seated position.
Early in the season, the team used to say "Hard work!" or "Win!" in the huddle before jogging out for pregame warm-ups. In December, perhaps early January, the team began saying "Show ya luv" instead.
Coincidence or not, it was also about this time that a very bad season became very good. It's not as if the saying itself changed the team's play - not in the least. Rather, only within an environment where such a saying germinates can a team execute this remarkable turnaround.