On its face, asking parents to hoist their babies up in the air for the entertainment of the masses seems like a bad idea, but add a Disney-themed filter to the giant video board and some beloved music and the practice goes from questionable parenting to one of the best things in sports.
“Simba Cam” was put to use by the Denver Nuggets during Friday’s 102-98 victory against the visiting San Antonio Spurs, with the results being captured and shared on social media. The team is the latest to put the activity to use during a game, and if the results proved anything, it’s that The Wave and Kiss Cam should fear for their screen time.
The Lion King-inspired concept is simple: The video board sports Pride Rock on the bottom section of the screen and blasts “Circle of Life” while parents shown on the board are encouraged to play Rafiki and lift their “cubs” for all the sports kingdom to see.
Here’s a look at some of those great Simbas:
— rachael (@RachaelHoops) April 9, 2016
Simba Cam? Truth is stranger than fiction. pic.twitter.com/9bzCrV2nZT
— Bob AKA Robert (@BobTrek) November 21, 2015
— Dan Cohen (@BeefySports) November 16, 2015
This Simba, from Oklahoma’s 75-67 March 5 victory over TCU, proved that you’re never too old to be king.
After a few brief searches through social media, it was revealed that the Atlanta Braves are the apparent originator of the idea, with former shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who goes by the nickname “Simba,” being the team’s inspiration to turn everyday parents into human Rafikis. That took place in 2014, and sports arenas around the league have since followed suit, though it will be tough to be some of the Simba entries the Braves collected in Simmons’s time with the club — the practice was put on ice after he was traded to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in November.
The most upsetting thing to me about the Simmons trade is that we'll lose the Simba Cam during games. pic.twitter.com/7SEYI3v1sF
— Braves Banter (@BravesBanter) November 13, 2015
— Nathan Harris (@naharris2) November 13, 2015
The biggest fear the practice produces stems from the potential for a butter-fingered dad and a confused, crying child that grows up to hate sporting events for some odd, unknown reason that their parents quietly snicker about whenever the matter is brought up at dinner. But until that day inevitably comes, lift away, Rafikis.