MIAMI — Excuse Jason Jackson for a fuzzy memory at this advanced stage.
"There have been so many now," the Sun Sports courtside reporter said.
So the first that comes to mind may not actually be the original. But it was, as Jackson puts it, the "oh-my-goodness-we-might-have-something-that-could-have-some-legs-and-this-will-be-fun" milestone for the Miami Heat.
So we'll have to settle for Milwaukee, on Feb. 13, 2012, as the birthplace of the Heat videobomb.
"We were in the middle of interviewing LeBron (James), and (Chris) Bosh just comes screeching in, and he's screaming, 'We did good, we did good,' " Jackson says. "There was an expletive, matter of fact, we forgot we were on live television, I think."
There was. Bosh actually said it was good, well, bleep.
"And I did the cursory apology that we do, and LeBron and I lost it," Jackson said. "And then you get right back into the interview and go. And that was the very first time that I can recall it being a moment, where I get responses on social media, text messages from family and friends, of: what in the world just happened? And then Chris being mortified because he didn’t want that to be an issue, but it wasn’t in the end. It was a fun moment that kind of sparked the entire thing."
Bosh kept getting more and more creative, and James and Dwyane Wade appeared to enjoy being repeatedly victimized as they demonstrated what Jackson calls their "joy connection."
"Then this year it turned into a competition," Jackson said. "With those guys, you know that's what you’re going to have."
"I didn’t think it was going to be a competition, but hey, I love competition," Bosh said. "So it’s all right."
And it's certainly all right with the interviewer.
As Dr. Strangelove might have said, he's learned to stop worrying and love the videobomb.
"What I just try to do is have fun," Jackson says. "I have questions to ask, but I realize who they are versus the importance of my questions. If you balance that stuff out, then you realize you’re secondary to the fact that people just want to see these guys have fun."
He credits those in the production truck for adjusting to the insanity.
"What happens, our director, Ted Ballard, has three and four cameras that he can control," Jackson says. "Usually, it’s a one-camera shoot, maybe two cameras if we have both handhelds. Now it’s turned into this three-, four-, five-camera thing, you’ve got to be prepared, and have a wide shot so you can see the building up of it. And if they’re doing cartwheels and mopping floors, you want to have a different angle."
Do the Heat players ever sympathize with Jackson?
"I did at first," Wade said, laughing. "I did at first. But he's become a professional. There’s not many people who can do it. So he’s become a professional. So, yeah, we’ve helped him become better at his craft."
"Yeah, man, that’s what it is all about," the Heat center said. "Being a professional is about handling the storm. When unexpected things happen, you’ve got to keep your cool."
So he never feels badly?
"Never," Bosh said. "He's quick on his feet. It makes his job easier. Gives him stuff to talk about. It's content, man. It's free. I ain't even charge him. Matter of a fact, we're going to have to have a talk."
Jackson does acknowledge that it can be a challenge, but "we deal with it every day, pretty much after every victory, and there's a lot of those, so we're prepared."
He's prepared to play the role of prop to all the silliness around him.
"I am a carnival barker, I am aware of that, and I embrace it fully," Jackson said.
His only concern is that the players don't push themselves too far. (For his part, Wade admits that "there’s so much humanly possible we can do, so I think it’s fine.")
"I don't want any injuries connected to the videobomb," Jackson said. "But I think they should continue to show enjoyment. They’re not upstaging their opponent. They’re not being derogatory, they’re just having fun, because they truly, really enjoy each other. This is unique. And the core of it is those three guys making sure everyone can have fun. Now, the fun can be rough sometimes, but it’s neat. The limit is I don’t think they’ll be bringing in Cirque du Soleil equipment or training staff, but their creativity has no bounds, as we know."
So which have been the best?
Depends whom you ask.
"Any one of mine," Bosh said. "That's it."
"The cartwheels," Wade said. "Because it was so unexpected. And LeBron’s response was crazy."
Jackson, for his part, puts the one in Milwaukee in the fifth slot, because it got everything going.
That was March 24, 2013, in Miami, after the Heat won their 26th straight game. Wade watched that game, but found a way to get on the floor.
"He took the microphone from me to interview LeBron," Jackson said. "And then you have Chris Bosh come in, and turn into the Kung Fu warrior. Puts a towel in between the two, karate chops it, even though the towel falls off, sells the whole thing, gives the bow, the whole bit. All the while, Dwyane, who didn’t even have a question prepared for LeBron, turns to me, and says, 'What should I ask them?'"
Third and second?
Jackson chooses two from this season, when, in his words, "they have gone off the chain."
There was the wheelbarrow.
And there was the cartwheel.
"The cartwheel changed everything into a competition," Jackson said. "And poor Chris Bosh, who really started these things—we called them Video Boshes, because he would just pop up and his neck would show up and his face would show up, and then LeBron was probably next with the troll face, just popping in, so they were just these moments of silliness. But now it’s creativity."
And, no, Bosh hasn't been forgotten.
After he made a three-pointer to beat the Portland Trail Blazers on Dec. 28, James (who had missed the game with a sore groin) and Wade made sure he got his due.
"No. 1 for me now is the James Brown one, because it brings together generations," Jackson said. "Because you have the fun of the videobomb, and then you have the old-school folks, who are like, 'Oh my, they’re doing the James Brown cape.' So you have guys in their late 20s, early 30s who still have a little bit of knowledge of old school R&B from their parents. And those crazy videos of James Brown, 'It’s too much, I can’t take this, I can’t take it no more,' and then the band just explodes and you go again. And so that one was my favorite. And then put in the context that it was a game-winning three as well. And it’s the most recent, which we’re a slave to."
But not the last.
"The thing that’s interesting now is that the Heat fan almost feels cheated if there isn’t one," Jackson said. "There have been a few nights where there hasn’t been one. My goal is, ask the questions, get out of the way of the fun, but make sure we get to break on time."
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