If you ever held any doubts about J.J. Watt's ability to transcend football, it's time to put them to rest.
It turns out stars from other sports cannot help but pay attention — and homage — to the Houston Texans' NFL MVP candidate either. When Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving snapped a selfie with his famous teammates at a recent game day shootaround, he seemed to have Watt's strict sensibilities in mind when he quickly assured, "I don't post on game days."
This quickly spawned the hashtag #jjwattapproved.
Of course, any self respecting sports fan — whether they participate in another professional sports besides football or not — gets the reference. Watt famously took Tennessee Titans rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger to task for having the audacity to post a locker room selfie to Instagram before his first career NFL start against the Texans. After sacking Mettenberger, Watt mocked the rookie by breaking into a faux selfie snapping celebration on the field.
Kyrie Irving even argues with LeBron sometimes. But he honors The Rules of Watt.
Hey, you don't mess with the NFL's real sheriff. Even, apparently, if you're not actually in the NFL.
The fact that 22-year-old Irving, one of the most social media savvy young stars in sports, recognizes and respects Watt's "rules" says more than a little something about No. 99's larger impact. Irving — the Houston NBA All-Star Weekend's breakout player, proud possessor of a crazy handle, USA gold medalist and new LeBron James sidekick — does not need to take counsel from many other professional athletes.
Irving's already pretty high up on pro athlete food chain at an awfully young age. He even argues with LeBron sometimes. But he honors The Rules of Watt.
The suddenly star-studded Cavs have actually shown a surprising amount of Houston Texans love. In the past, LeBron himself has gushed over Texans tailback Arian Foster, calling Bill O'Brien's offensive lifeline, "probably the best running back in the NFL."
When the Texans head to Cleveland this weekend for a crucial matchup with the resurgent Browns, the Cavs will be in town. With LeBron and Co. playing home games against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night and the Denver Nuggets on Monday night, it would not be a surprise if some of the Cavs made it to First Energy Stadium for the Sunday NFL action.
LeBron won't be tone deaf enough to show up in anything but Browns gear (he learned his lesson from his Yankees hat "controversies), but maybe Kyrie Irving will sneak in a few words with Sheriff Watt. Just don't expect a game day selfie.