Inside story of “One, Two, Three… Cancun!”

Nick Van Exel wants this clear: He never quit on his team, never meant to imply it and never meant to offend anyone. He surely never intended to launch a meme—mostly because, well, no one in 1998 knew what a “meme” was when Van Exel blurted out his wry rallying cry:

“One, two, three… Cancún!”

“It just popped in my head,” Van Exel says now, chuckling over this odd little origin story. “It wasn’t like it was scripted.”

It won’t technically be in the script Tuesday night, either, when TNT’s Inside the NBA broadcasts what could be its final show of the 2022 playoffs. But if the Warriors complete their sweep of the Mavericks, you can bet someone—Shaq, Kenny or Chuck—will send Luka Dončić & Co. into the summer with a cheeky, ubiquitous refrain:

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