fred vanvleet sam cassell

Fans are loving Fred VanVleet's celebration of Raptors win and here's what it means

The Toronto Raptors narrowly defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in a total nail-biter at the Well Fargo Centre last night, the 115 – 109 road win for the Raps punctuated with a...ummm...ballsy celebration from star point guard Fred VanVleet.

It was back and forth all game, and Philadelphia was up 109 - 107 with just over one minute left on the clock in the fourth quarter.

Back-to-back dagger three-pointers from Gary Trent Jr. and Fred VanVleet closed out the game in epic fashion, VanVleet adding insult to injury with a very specific celebration that has people talking.

Borrowing from 90s clutch shooter Sam Cassell, Steady Freddy commemorated his "it's over" shot with a little bit of pantomime known in NBA lore as "the big balls celebration," to the delight of announcers and the Raptors' bench.

Also known simply as "the Sam Cassell," the celebration is, well, precisely what it looks like. A playful display of masculinity exaggerated to the "you might want to see a doctor" level. Though some still needed a bit of a breakdown of what they were seeing.

It may seem like a random callback, but this was a calculated troll move by VanVleet. Sam Cassell may have retired from the hardwood in 2009, but he has served as an assistant coach for the Sixers under coach Doc Rivers since Nov. 2020.

Cassell was in the house to witness the put-away shot and ensuing celebration, but even with a bit of trolling, VanVleet still went over to the 76ers bench to shake hands with the legend himself after the game.

Freddy is not the first to borrow this move from Cassell, with a long history in the league.

After the game, VanVleet spoke to sideline reporters but revealed little about his choice in celebration, saying, "we goin' keep that between the team. If you not havin' fun with this, you doin' it wrong."

Many fans are eating up VanVleet's cocky (sorry) celebration, but some aren't happy about the blatant sexual nature of the move, one commenter calling it "cringey." Another fan wants to see VanVleet fined for the display.

A few on Twitter think that even if VanVleet gets fined for his controversial display, it was totally worth the entertainment.

Freddy probably isn't worried though, having just led his team to victory with 32 points, including six 3-pointers, plus seven assists and six rebounds.

Lead photo by


Latest Videos

Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Sports & Play

Drake is trying to sell a $4,800 OVO goalie mask to hockey fans

Adorable boy brought to tears as parents surprise him with Toronto Raptors tickets

Canada gets historic first goal in battle versus Croatia at FIFA World Cup

Canada beats Australia in final to win first-ever Davis Cup title

Toronto Maple Leafs legend Börje Salming has passed away at 71

Canada misses penalty and comes up just short against Belgium in FIFA World Cup

The NHL is taking a stand against anti-trans bigots and fans are here for it

Former H&M store is being transformed into Toronto's first indoor roller skating rink