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LeBroning is a Vine photo fad in which the participant stages an exaggerated dive after intentionally bumping into an unsuspecting passerby. It is named after the American pro-basketball player Lebron James, who has earned a reputation for frequently resorting to flop, or the act of intentional falling upon slightest contact with an opposing player in order to draw a personal foul call.
The neologistic gerund “Lebroning” has been used as a catchall term to mock Lebron James’ style of play since as early as 2010, with the highest rated Urban Dictionary entry defining the term as a synonym for the sports idiom “choking under pressure.”
In the following years, James gained notoriety for flopping on many occasions during play, ultimately prompting the National Basketball Association to fine him $5,000 for violating the league’s anti-flopping policy in May 2013. The player’s flopping has been documented in a supercut compiled by The Roosevelts and uploaded on May 29th that same year.
The earliest known recorded instance of “Lebroning” was uploaded by Vine user Ronnie on May 30th, 2013. In the video, Ronnie is seen falling to the floor after brushing elbow with a friend walking in the opposite direction in a school hallway.
Ronnie’s Vine upload largely remained in obscurity until January 7th, 2014, when a slew of parody videos began to surface on Vine and Instagram under the hashtag “#Lebroning.” On January 12th, BuzzFeed picked up on the Vine breakout in an article titled “The Amazing New Meme Mocking LeBron James,” and from there, the hashtag was reported on by numerous sports blogs, NBA fan sites and news media outlets, such as Deadspin, Bleacher Report, Uproxx, The Huffington Post, NBCSports and FoxSports, among many others.
Nearly all instances of “Lebroning” appears to have taken place so far in school hallways, though with some exceptions, such as Jordan Liggins’ Vine of Lebroning at a shopping mall.
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Bleacher Report – ‘LeBroning’ Becomes Latest Craze to Sweep the Internet
The Huffington Post – LeBroning Is The Viral Flopping Video Trend Sweeping The Nation