He is him. That's an innocuous phrase for anyone that's not constantly online. But if you're a sports fan in 2022, you've seen this phrase so many times before.
It started as a funny, but cool thing people said on Black Twitter. It eventually spread and became more ubiquitous once artists used it in their songs. Its seminal moment in sports was this player intro from Odell Beckham Jr.
“I'm him.” It's a declaration that he is, indeed the one – the singular entity that shifts conversations, influences culture, gets buckets, wins games, etc. Being “him” can mean a lot of things, but only great things, so there can only really be a few of “him”.
It's getting wild out there. Between team social media accounts gassing up their own players and network accounts trying to sound young, there’s been several declarations of players being “him” in the NBA. There really should be only one or at least very few of “him” out there so I took a look at the tweets. Who among them is “him”?
For this article, I only looked at team Twitter accounts to see who among their players they have christened “him”. These only include tweets that say “He is him”, “HIM”, a pun on a famous Jim or Tim (Him Robbins) or variations of these from this season. I listed them here and put them in tiers according to who I think really is “him”.
Players on this tier are most certainly not him.
31. Naz Reid (Minnesota Timberwolves)
7.6 pts, 52.7% FG, 2.6 rebs
Naz. Equals. Him. pic.twitter.com/y2klYiDo4p— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) November 22, 2022
There’s some opportunity for the fourth year big man to get more shine with Karl-Anthony Towns set to miss some time due to injury. Even then, Reid might not get much of a boost in playing time with Minnesota's loaded frontcourt. The Timberwolves social media manager was definitely reaching with this one.
30. Tim Hardaway Jr. (Dallas Mavericks)
10.8 pts, 32.7% FG, 2.2 rebs, 2.0 asts
HIM. pic.twitter.com/pHTPdgPaat— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) October 31, 2022
This was tweeted right after THJ made a couple of huge plays to help Dallas seal a win against the Magic. But Dallas’ shooting specialist is only hitting 31.9 percent of his shots from deep. He's Tim, not him.
29. AJ Griffin (Atlanta Hawks)
8.8 pts, 47.0% FG, 1.9 rebs
AJ is HIM!!! 🗣? pic.twitter.com/zixMknbi7x— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) November 20, 2022
Another case of a team hyping up one of their roles. Griffin is a rookie who’s had his moments this season, but the former Duke Blue Devil still has plenty to prove on a stacked Hawks backcourt.
28. PJ Washington (Charlotte Hornets)
15.9 pts, 44.1% FG, 4.7 rebs, 1.9 asts
HIM 🥵@PJWashington | 🔥— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) October 30, 2022
There hasn’t been a lot to be excited about in Charlotte given all the injuries and controversies with the team’s current and former players. Washington has been a bright spot, stepping up and producing decent numbers in his first full-time starting role. That’s as far as it goes.
27. Killian Hayes (Detroit Pistons)
7.3 pts, 34.6% FG, 2.6 rebs, 4.5 asts
Him.#Pistons | @iam_killian https://t.co/oFgq86fWwO pic.twitter.com/t0nKDFC00Q— Detroit Pistons (@DetroitPistons) December 2, 2022
The impetus for this article; seeing the Pistons crown KILLIAN HAYES got me thinking how low the bar for this has been. It’s fun to throw phrases like this around, but it’s hard to keep a straight face with this.
To be fair, Hayes has been better over the last two weeks since Cade Cunningham went down with an injury. The French-American guard has been averaging 12.1 pts on 44.4 percent shooting with 5.8 assists. But throughout his career, Hayes has never been near ALL-CAPS HIM status. At best, we could take this as a sign that he’s getting better.
26. Rui Hachimura (Washington Wizards)
11.6 pts, 48.1% FG, 4.1 rebs, 4.8 asts
rui hac(him)ura 🥶 pic.twitter.com/kQdXIuyhoZ— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) November 13, 2022
If you’re Japanese and/or love midrange jumpers, Hachimura might be him for you. Props to the Wizards social media people for the clever wordplay and to Hachimura for the dunk. He gets this high on the list because he has sick Jordan PEs. Those count for something.
25. Aaron Gordon (Denver Nuggets)
16.1 pts, 60.4% FG, 6.7 rebs, 2.4 asts
him pic.twitter.com/KT43tybFN1— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) November 26, 2022
The Nuggets have declared three of their players “him”, and it’s wild that none of them is two-time MVP Nikola Jokic, as if Serbians could not be “him”. Gordon has been a victim of plenty of unjust judging in his career. This is definitely a massive step up for him.
24. Derrick Rose (New York Knicks)
6.6 pts, 40.3% FG, 1.8 rebs, 2.0 asts
Been him. Still HIM 🌹 pic.twitter.com/wjDyF9kI2L— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) November 6, 2022
As the youngest MVP in league history, D-Rose was definitely HIM at one point in his career. But those days are clearly behind him. He gets placed higher on this list out of pure respect.
23. John Wall (Los Angeles Clippers)
12.9 pts, 43.1% FG, 2.6 rebs, 5.6 asts
JOHN WALL IS HIM pic.twitter.com/p98IvTV8A2— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) November 27, 2022
Wall gets the same love here because, for a few years in his career, he was low-key a Top Five point guard in the NBA. He gets ranked higher than Rose as he's having a genuinely solid season for the Clippers.
22. Keldon Johnson (San Antonio Spurs)
20.3 pts, 39.3% FG, 5.1 rebs, 3.2 asts
KJ really is HIM pic.twitter.com/U5MH4RtHXc— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) November 12, 2022
Out of all the players on this list, Johnson was the hardest to rank. Spurs have sworn KJ is going to become HIM for the last two seasons, but it hasn’t quite happened. He’s putting numbers on a bad team while shooting way below league average. We need to see more from him, but Johnson has time.
21. Christian Wood (Dallas Mavericks)
16.3 pts, 54.3% FG, 7.7 rebs, 1.1 asts
HIM 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/ffmlak93pL— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) October 20, 2022
Much to Christian Wood’s and Mavericks fans chagrin, Jason Kidd doesn't think Christian Wood is “him” or, more accurately, a starter. Wood could probably boost his status a little bit if he were a starter and got more minutes. Until Jason Kidd budges or Wood starts playing good defense, he’s going to continue riding the bench in crunch time and the bottom of this list.
20. Bojan Bogdanovic (Detroit Pistons)
20.3 pts, 49.8% FG, 39.7% 3PT, 3.8 rebs
Him & Him. pic.twitter.com/IwUK6DWkho— Detroit Pistons (@DetroitPistons) December 2, 2022
There were 28 other teams, most of whom wanted to contend, that could have traded for the Bosnian sniper this offseason. Instead, Bogdanovic is balling in Detroit. What’s “him” in Bosnian?
These are the dudes that are solid and you don’t mind them being “him”. But they’re not the best character on the show.
19. Jordan Clarkson (Utah Jazz)
19.5 pts, 43.3% FG, 4.0 rebs, 4.9 asts
HIM pic.twitter.com/GzHQF9QyMd— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) October 27, 2022
Being “him” is not just about putting up stats, it’s the entire package. Do you believe your him? Do you walk like your him? Do you dress like your him? Clarkson probably answers yes to all those questions. He's also been low-key great this season for a surprising Jazz squad.
18. Jamal Murray (Denver Nuggets)
17.8 pts, 44.5% FG, 3.8 rebs, 4.8 asts
Him pic.twitter.com/NYY7FHeBlT— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) November 17, 2022
Since coming back from an ACL injury, Murray has been slowly working his way back to form. But he’s probably going to climb this and other rankings as he gets more reps. The Nuggets need him at an All-Star level.
17. Pascal Siakam (Toronto Raptors)
24.0 pts, 48.7% FG, 9.2 rebs, 7.1 asts
HE IS HIM, HE IS 🅿?— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) November 3, 2022
Tonight marks the 5th Career Triple-Double for @pskills43 pic.twitter.com/ynb7eLQQS6
The Scoville units were reaching The Bomb levels of heat for Spicy P before he went down and missed a few weeks due to injury. If this list was earlier in the season, he would definitely be in the top tier.
16. Kristaps Porzingis (Washington Wizards)
21.6 pts, 47.5% FG, 8.7 rebs, 2.5 asts, 1.6 blks
HIM. pic.twitter.com/lkWNw9hG8Z— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) November 29, 2022
The OG unicorn has tearing it up. He’s the reason the Wizards are smack in the middle of the Eastern Conference standings. He’d probably rank higher on this if there was more confidence in his health. The best ability is availability. It’s written on the HIM bible.
These are guys that are already great and exciting, but haven’t reached their true form – the “him” they're destined to be.
15. Bones Hyland (Denver Nuggets)
15.0 pts, 39.4% FG, 2.1 rebs, 3.6 asts
Bizzy is him pic.twitter.com/zSWLEAz9s2— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) November 6, 2022
Bizzy has been him since that viral video of him in high school taking down two trash talkers. Out of all the Nuggets not named Jokic, Bones passes the vibe check. He has a silky game and just has to improve his shot selection. He also gets points for releasing the best mixtape of the year.
14. Ben Mathurin (Indiana Pacers)
19.2 pts, 43.4% FG, 4.0 rebs, 1.5 asts
HIM. pic.twitter.com/17uizkUIcQ— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) October 23, 2022
Ben Mathurin put a giant target on his back when he said that the NBA’s superstars, including LeBron James, were going to have to prove to him that they were great. The sixth overall pick from this year’s Draft gets additional credit for walking the talk.
13. Devin Vassell (San Antonio Spurs)
20.6 pts, 46.4% FG, 4.2 rebs, 3.6 asts
HIM.— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) October 12, 2022
16 PTS | 7/11 FG pic.twitter.com/Hyy7PbZKxP
With the Spurs going all-in on their youth movement, a lot of their players have been getting a chance to prove themselves. The Young Lord has been doing great this year, being a threat on both ends of the court. Unlike Keldon Johnson, Vassell has been more efficient and has showed some playmaking chops. It won’t be long until Vassell is an impact player on a winning team.
12. Tyrese Maxey (Philadelphia 76ers)
22.9 pts, 46.2% FG, 3.5 rebs, 4.4 asts
him. pic.twitter.com/ngwpjsisRY— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) October 16, 2022
The steal of the 2020 Draft has just continued to get better this season. He was supposed to get more usage with James Harden going down with injury. Unfortunately, he’s also been sidelined for the last two weeks. Still, it’s easy to see the vision with the Sixers’ young star.
11. Dejounte Murray (Atlanta Hawks)
20.9 pts, 44.3% FG, 5.8 rebs, 6.6 asts
HIM & HIM@SharecareInc pic.twitter.com/a2H2wXX5sb— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) November 11, 2022
You’d think that the Atlanta Hawks would proclaim the NBA’s No. 1 villain as their HIM candidate, but Ice Trae might already be a cool enough nickname. Instead, offseason signing Dejounte Murray has been HIM for the Hawks. It hasn’t been a seamless fit for the former Spur, but Murray does deserve recognition. He patches a lot of holes for the Hawks, especially on defense.
10. Anthony Edwards (Minnesota Timberwolves)
22.9 pts, 46.2% FG, 5.7 rebs, 3.8 asts
“you know it. I’m HIM.” pic.twitter.com/YFPNeFIwoz— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) December 1, 2022
Out of everyone on this list, Edwards takes being HIM personally. He embodies the pronoun like no one else in the league. He’d rank higher if he and the Wolves were having a better season.
9. Paolo Banchero (Orlando Magic)
22.7 pts, 45.8% FG, 6.8 rebs, 3.6 asts
him— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) October 29, 2022
Watching Banchero go about his business this season has been an experience. He’s silky smooth on the court and already carries himself like a 10-year vet. Don’t be surprised if Banchero becomes an MVP candidate within the next five years.
8. De'Aaron Fox (Sacramento Kings)
24.0 pts, 52.6% FG, 4.9 rebs, 6.0 asts, 1.1 stls
him. pic.twitter.com/epj4GWZvu2— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) November 12, 2022
They’re beaming people up and actually having fun in Sacramento for the first time in nearly two decades. De’Aaron Fox turning into an All-NBA player has a lot to do with it. The Kings are awesome again and Fox could finally be leading them back to the playoffs.
HIMMY PAGE, HIM BROWN, HIMMY CARTER
This is for the true embodiment of HIM. If for you that’s Led Zepplin's lead guitarist, an NFL Hall of Famer or a former US president, it doesn't really matter.
7. Paul George (Los Angeles Clippers)
23.6 pts, 45.8% FG, 6.0 rebs, 4.3 asts, 1.6 stls
PG IS HIM?? pic.twitter.com/hMiNnqLhfw— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) November 1, 2022
PG isn't the coolest player among NBA fans and a lot of the reasons for that is self inflicted. With that being said, George has been highly underrated over the last three seasons. When he’s healthy, he elevates the Clippers to a serious playoffs contender.
6. Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
26.3 pts, 42.2% FG, 4.3 rebs, 7.0 asts
Him Duncan. #RipCity | @Dame_Lillard pic.twitter.com/je2XOz98Sl— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) November 16, 2022
This probably shouldn’t have made the list, but the Trail Blazers legendary social media team deserve some props for this solid pun. Lillard blocking a Spur really makes this perfect. Dame Time would be way higher on this list if he were healthy. Few players have had more “He’s him” moments than Lillard.
5. Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)
31.1 pts, 51.1% FG, 9.6 rebs, 4.9 asts, 1.1 stls, 1.6 blks
HIM. pic.twitter.com/G8wLKNzec4— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) November 20, 2022
Embiid might already have two MVPs under his belt if it weren’t for historic seasons from Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo. But he's still been dominating this season. Hopefully, he stays healthy.
4. Jimmy Butler (Miami Heat)
20.9 pts, 48.3% FG, 6.6 rebs, 6.1 asts, 1.8 stls
A solid double-double and the game-winning block. Himmy still Himmy. pic.twitter.com/T8nv01zrnV— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) November 15, 2022
Big Face Coffee LLC’s CEO has been Himmy for three seasons now. If there’s anyone that can make this audacious of a nickname work, it’s definitely the same guy that’s brave enough to rock long dreads.
Just being HIM. What’s next from @jimmybutler? pic.twitter.com/VX8btoWZso— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) October 1, 2022
3. Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets)
30.4 pts, 55.3% FG, 6.5 rebs, 5.3 asts
30/5/5 in each of the past four games.— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) December 1, 2022
He is him. pic.twitter.com/o8cIbLUpDR
When KD came out of the womb, the doctor said, “This is him.” Durant, aka easymoneysniper aka Slim Reaper aka Rihanna’s no. 1 fan, has been him his entire career. Whether he rides or drives the bus, few players have a better claim to being him than Durant.
2. Steph Curry (Golden State Warriors)
31.4 pts, 51.8% FG, 6.7 rebs, 7.0 asts, 1.1 stls
Him. pic.twitter.com/bhF0XiHMYz— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) November 8, 2022
The Warriors have several good players, but they've only called Steph Curry “him”. Their season probably would be a disaster if Curry didn’t muster his 2015-2016 MVP-level performance to start this season. Even if he hadn’t played like this, Curry would still definitely make the top of this list. No one inflicts more fear on opposing fanbases than Steph.
1. Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics)
31.6 pts, 48.8% FG, 7.8 rebs, 4.5 asts
When people say “Him” they mean HIM ?? pic.twitter.com/WoFMCeep5V— Boston Celtics (@celtics) November 13, 2022
This list unintentionally became an MVP power rankings because on that list, Tatum and Curry would probably rank as the top two, as well. Tatum is making it look easy on offense and has stepped his defense this season. He’s been more aggressive and efficient this season, almost as if he wants to makes a statement after his subpar performance in the Finals. He’s definitely HIM.