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'Ice Up, Son' Takes Off In Charlotte

Michael Tomsic

A new phrase is popping up on T-shirts, Twitter and even at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. And you will absolutely hear it yelled at the Carolina Panthers' home playoff game this Sunday. WFAE's Michael Tomsic explains what it is and how it's taking off. 

You can thank veteran receiver and big-time trash talker Steve Smith for this one.

When the Panthers beat the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football in November, Smith had a particularly physical battle with Patriots' defensive back AqibTalib. Talib left the game early with an injury, but nothing serious.

Afterward, an NFL Network reporter asked Smith about the matchup.     


That phrase went viral.

It started trending on Twitter. Bojangles used it to promote its sweet tea the next day.


People posted Youtube videos of toddlers saying it. And the NFL Network unveiled a Steve Smith ice sculpture.  


Amateur musicians got in on the act too, remixing songs with the phrase. Vanilla Ice, anyone?


Or if gangster rap is more your style:


Brian Young from Lexington, N.C., made that one.

“I had the NFL Panthers director or something email me and, of course, I can't sell it,” Young said.

He said he’s not selling it. He just wants other Panthers fans to enjoy it online. 

“I just kept it on YouTube because, I mean, I’m not making any money off of it. They sue me, they ain't going to get nothing,” Young said with a laugh. “They'd just be practicing.”

But some people are trying to make money off of it. Chris Bowens owns a web development and consulting firm in uptown, which he said is involved in trademarking and copyrighting.  

“It was the very first thing that came to my mind – I got to go check and see if the trademark is there,” Bowens said with a laugh.

No one had applied to trademark it. (Steve Smith said he's not interested in doing so.) So Bowens applied.

It's unclear how likely he is to get it. But if he does, “I don't suspect that we'll go knocking on doors and like, hey, you're going to owe me money,” he said.

“For now, I think it's fun,” Bowens said. “There are a lot of printing presses in the basements out there that are printing shirts and capitalizing on the moment.”

You can find those shirts all over Charlotte.

Inside a shop called The Sporting Gent, owner Marc Williams said his version is selling like crazy.

“We got about 30 of them and sold them like that,” he said with a snap of his fingers. “I mean they just went out so fast.”

At $35 a pop, too. Williams partnered with another North Carolina business to make them.

Jess Monday walked in and went straight for them.

“These shirts are, I mean it's the best one I've seen yet,” he said, and then buys one.

Monday said he hears people from all over North Carolina use the phrase.   

“You get in an argument with somebody, you just tell them to ice up,” he said, laughing. “You don't even have to say the 'son.'” You can just say 'ice up.' I'm a Duke fan. I remember Carolina lost to somebody the other night, I was like, 'Ice up, Tar Heels.'”

In the Carolina Panthers locker room, the players are still having fun with it, too. 

“This carpet in here, we call it the carpet monster because you can walk and trip,” fullback Mike Tolbert said. “And as soon as somebody trip, you can hear out of nowhere, 'Hey, you better ice up son! Carpet just got you.' So it's little things, but we still joke around with it, yeah.”

And the guy who first coined 'Ice up, son'? Steve Smith has one of the shirts now.

Credit blacksportsonline.com
Steve Smith wearing one of the shirts.

And Smith said there's a reason everyone is having so much fun with this.

“Winning makes everything funnier,” he said. “It makes the sweet tea sweeter. It makes the meals nicer. Go to a restaurant, you get a few free meals. Winning gives you a lot of different things.”

The Panthers will try to keep winning on Sunday at Bank of America Stadium. Ironically, Smith will be coming off his own injury.