The moment the whistle blew, Chris Duhon jumped out of his chair.
The referees had just called Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger for traveling as his team trailed by three points with 7.5 seconds remaining in a Game 1 first-round playoff matchup last season against the Orlando Magic. So once Duhon stood up, he instantly signaled the traveling call while performing a little dance.
Once the incident went viral, Magic fans snarkily suggested that marked the lone highlight of Duhon’s otherwise struggling season, in which he averaged 3.8 points on 41.9% shooting in 19.5 minutes per game. Aside from laughing over the incident, Duhon believes that reflected his interest in the team’s play even if he had a limited role.
“It was just a heat-of-the-moment type of thing,” Duhon said, laughing, in a phone interview with The Times. “It was a really good game. I was into the game and it was obviously a key possession for us. It wasn’t something that was premeditated or anything like that. It was one of those things that just happened. There was a travel and I was really excited.”
It’s possible Duhon, who came to the Lakers as part of the Dwight Howard trade, will provide more than just travel dances from the bench this season for the Lakers. The team announced Monday backup point guard Steve Blake will stay sidelined for at least three weeks because of a punctured wound in his left foot. This happened Blake stepped on a spike strip over the weekend at a beach parking lot. That leaves Duhon and second-year point guard Darius Morris competing for minutes as Steve Nash’s backup.
It wouldn’t be surprising, though, for Lakers fans to see Duhon perform the travel dance again. After all, 2012 postseason incident stems from when he would oversee games at his basketball camp in his home state, Louisiana.
“For years, I always would blow the whistle and do the travel dance when one of the kids travels,” Duhon said. “It was something I’ve always done. It wasn’t really something that just came out of nowhere.”
So once the video went viral, plenty of hometown friends immediately recognized the dance.
“Guys at home were kidding around with me when they saw me,” Duhon recalled. “They said, ‘You do that all the time!’”