Al Horford finally explains his bizarre rebounding flinch

Celtics center Al Horford isn’t always afraid of the basketball. (AP)

For years now, Al Horford has inexplicably been flinching every so often after missed free throws, as if he’s frightened by the basketball, leading to on unending list of questions. Does the five-time All-Star suffer from a random temporary fear of rebounding? Is this a bit? If so, why commit to it so rarely?

Horford did it again during game action in the Boston Celtics‘ win over the Toronto Raptors on Saturday. Three minutes into the opening quarter, he acted as if Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas‘ 3-point attempt was going to take his head off, and Celtics teammate Terry Rozier grabbed the rebound.

Did a series of concussions lead to a fear of getting hit in the head? Or did he see the perfect chance to rehash an old joke with Rozier and Jayson Tatum clearing out the lane for an easy rebound? writer Taylor Snow finally asked the questions we’ve all wanted answered all these years.

“I just try to keep it loose sometimes for the guys,” Horford tell Snow. “The game is so serious at times, and I take it very serious, but there are times you put things in perspective. That’s something I’ve been doing for years. I kind of stopped doing it, and the other night it was just messing around.”

Horford said he came up with the bit in Atlanta. The first documented case of the now-famous Horford flinch was 2011, and last year “The Starters” on NBATV ran through how rarely he’s done it since.

Horford said he’s only done it two or three times this season. “A lot of the times I just try to get a laugh out of my teammates on the bench,” he said. Consider it an Easter egg for NBA viewers, I guess.

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Ben Rohrbach is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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