There’s a new phrase taking the sports world by storm.
It’s quite simple, one that might not even make grammatical sense when first hearing it. But rest assured, your favorite athlete has likely uttered the iconic words at one point or another over the past year.
It’s a term that has spanned across playing surfaces. From LeBron James to Joe Burrow, Premier League grounds to dusty blacktops, “I’m Him” is the en vogue motto for those teeming with swagger and bravado.
But what exactly does “I’m Him” mean? And how did such a colloquial idiom spread like wildfire across the global athletic landscape? Sporting News has you covered.
MORE: All of Joe Burrow’s nicknames, from ‘Joe Shiesty’ to ‘Joe Brrr’
What does ‘I’m Him’ mean?
At first, it may seem hard to derive much meaning from “I’m Him.” It’s only two syllables, after all.
However, the connotation of the expression is all that matters. To be “Him” is to be a dominant figure, a blooming flower in a garden full of weeds. It’s a feeling of euphoric confidence, the type of disposition that only occurs when you leave your opposition cowering in fear.
Think LeBron’s Game 6 vs. the Celtics in 2012 or Mbappe’s performance in the World Cup final against Argentina — displays of pure dominance when the lights were at their brightest.
What does ‘I’m Him’ stand for in slang?
Famed rapper Kevin Gates is credited as the originator of the “I’m Him” slang term. It was the title of his second album released in 2019, with H.I.M. intended as an acronym for His Imperial Majesty.
“I’m Him” debuted at No. 4 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling 71,422 copies in its first week. To date, the 17-track album has sold over 500,000 units in the United States, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.
I’m Him meme origin
Although the phrase “I’m Him” has been around since 2019, the meme picked up traction within internet pop culture in 2022.
Much of that had to do with YouTuber JiDion, who recorded an amusing interaction between him and a woman at a bowling alley last year.
The clip predictably went viral, spawning a series of TikToks, many of which included audio from JiDion’s original video. To add to the theatrics, many users combined the clip with the opening lyrics from Big Yavo’s 2022 banger “HIM”:
I told the b— I’m him, quit playing. Tryna ride with the boss? Well, b— get in. Say I stay on the road like the Michelin Man. Put an M on your head like a Michigan fan.
The result? The meme of all memes, one that has since become part and parcel of the sports world.
MORE: There’s a simple answer to ‘what did Michael Jordan do to the dog’ TikTok trend
What does Himothy mean?
“Him” wasn’t enough for some, who wanted to up the ante on the phrase. Along came words like “Himothy,” defined by Urban Dictionary as being used to describe “the greatest of the greats.”
If you’re getting called “Himothy,” you’re doing something right.
“Right now, [Joe Burrow] is Himothy Burrow, and we just have to accept it.”
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) January 27, 2023
Best ‘I’m Him’ memes in sports
LeBron: “I don’t give a f*ck what nobody think. I’m him.”
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) July 22, 2022
“I’M HIM.” – @JoeyB
Joe Shiesty’s confidence is on another level. (via @NFLFilms, @insidetheNFL) pic.twitter.com/BlgaiOnQ1n
— NFL (@NFL) January 25, 2023
“What does ‘I’m HIM’ mean?”
“Did I say that? 😅😅 Sometimes you blackout out there I dunno” – Joe Burrow pic.twitter.com/eaZR77ZrXP
— Faux Joey Brrr (@FauxJeaux) January 25, 2023
Odell Beckham Jr.
Such an iconic SNF intro.
“@obj… I’m him.” pic.twitter.com/hBx8ez2Q9i
— Sunday Night Football on NBC (@SNFonNBC) May 5, 2020
He’s not wrong.@StefonDiggs pic.twitter.com/l4kut1U6eR
— NFL (@NFL) September 20, 2022
“How is that even a question? I’m HIM.”@StefonDiggs @BuffaloBills #BUFvsDET pic.twitter.com/IRKj2uZgFB
— NFL (@NFL) November 24, 2022
“I’M HIM!” 🗣@JaMorant had to remind everybody after his dagger
(via jackhaydencook/IG) pic.twitter.com/DGdTXxifSd
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 12, 2022
Jordan Poole “Let’s go… I’m really him, I’m really him” pic.twitter.com/7l5j9nOLYu
— CJ Fogler (@cjzer0) May 8, 2022
Yes you are Jaden Ivey pic.twitter.com/c67czzalRa
— Joe Jackson (@Joe_Jackson2210) February 9, 2022
“I’M HIM. I LOVE IT WHEN THEY COUNT ME OUT.”
🗣️ @jalenramsey pic.twitter.com/OmFyKPWiGL
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) September 18, 2022
Onana scores his first goal for Everton to take.the lead at Goodison Park!
📺: @USA_Network #MyPLMorning | #EVESOU pic.twitter.com/m93POaOP6k
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) January 14, 2023