'Karate Kid,' LeBron James and a blood contract: Explaining Alabama football TD celebrations

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

Whenever Alabama football receiver Jameson Williams scores his next touchdown, watch how he ends his celebration.

To start, he might break out the "Karate Kid" crane kick. Maybe he mimics a plane cruising through the end zone. Or he could debut something else. There’s no telling what he might do.

His post-touchdown celebrations can vary, but he almost always ends them in the same way: He finds his quarterback, Bryce Young.

After most scores, Young and Williams approach each other, then stop. A bow comes next. Then the squabble, a dance that Young, one day at practice, suggested they add to the celebration, Williams said.

As to why they do this, you’re better off asking Young for this week's game plan.

“The reason and the origin is pretty top secret,” Young said. “You’ve got to sign a contract with blood and all that.”

Come again? 

“I couldn’t reveal the origins,” Young said. “I got sworn into it, so I’m sorry about that.”

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Alabama is tied for first in the country with 59 touchdowns, which allows for plenty of chances to celebrate. Some are spontaneous and come from the emotion of the moment. Others involve planning. Either way, there’s no shortage of variety. And don't expect that to change when No. 2 Alabama (9-1, 5-1 SEC) faces No. 22 Arkansas (7-3, 3-3) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. 

“Anytime we’re able to score, it’s always fun,” Young said. “It’s always a celebration. Everyone is always happy. We play against a lot of good teams, a lot of good defenses. We celebrate in the ways that are legal, and we have fun with it.”

Sep 25, 2021; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;  Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (9) celebrates with Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams (1) after Williams returned a punt for a touchdown at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama defeated Southern Miss 63-14. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports

No skill player has had more touchdowns to celebrate this season than running back Brian Robinson Jr. He leads the team with 16.

That much productivity makes him a bit of a celebration expert, but his aren’t necessarily the flashiest. Robinson said he’s not a big celebration guy.

When he reaches the end zone, one of his more frequent moves has been him simply pushing his hands toward the ground.

“It’s like me telling you to just relax,” Robinson said. “There’s more to come.”

Different types of touchdowns can prompt different types of celebrations. After Robinson ran for a career-long 63-yard touchdown against New Mexico State, he cruised along the back of the end zone, high-fiving fans. Then he put his arms back while running, almost like he was flying, just as he had done down the field.

Williams has also broken this jet-like move out before, because he often scores jet-like touchdowns. He’s got 10 receiving on the year in addition to two return touchdowns.

He spread his wings in the end zone after he returned the opening kick 100 yards against Southern Miss. He did the same when he returned another for 81 yards, but Williams also added the "Karate Kid" crane kick at the end.

He’s more known to pull that out this year. So, too, is fellow receiver John Metchie III.

“I think after Mercer, Southern Miss, he just talked about a celebration in practice, the crane, karate-kick thing,” Williams said. “It just happened to be something that just kept going, and every time we score it’s just how we show them it’s us and we’re here.”

And celebrations can be contagious. Receivers aren’t the only Alabama players who’ve done the kick.

“It kind of fed and bled through the whole team,” linebacker Henry To’o To’o said. “We definitely picked it up as a defense.”

Yes, the defense celebrates, too. And there doesn’t have to be a touchdown. 

Against New Mexico State, defensive backs Malachi Moore and Brian Branch showed off their celebration after Branch broke up a pass late in the first half.

“We just started a little handshake too that I think is pretty fire,” Moore said.

The written word can’t do that celebration justice. It’s best to watch Moore explain the handshake that pays tribute to LeBron James’ chalk toss.

Safety Jordan Battle has gotten in on the celebration action, too. After he snagged his second interception of the day against Mississippi State, he broke out a dance, swinging his arms back and forth in front of him while moving his legs.

“There is a name for that dance, but I won’t be speaking on that name because I want to keep it a secret,” Battle said. “Just in case anybody do it, I can say I started it. So I’ll just keep it to myself.”

Battle must have one of those blood contracts, too.

Contact Alabama reporter Nick Kelly: nkelly@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter: @_NickKelly