confused meme: The 'Confused' or 'Confused Nick Young' meme


The ‘Confused’ or ‘Confused Nick Young’ meme, explained

Confused about the 'confused' meme? We have an explainer for you.


Natasha Dubash


Posted on Nov 12, 2023   Updated on Nov 13, 2023, 10:47 am CST

If you’ve ever come across a confounding social media post, you’ve also no doubt come across the famous reaction meme commonly known as the “confused” meme as commentary on that. Featuring NBA basketball player Nick Young, the “confused” meme is one of the most widely used reaction images online. 

But how did this meme come to be? 

Confused meme: the origins

The image of Nick Young in the “Confused” meme, also referred to as “Confused Nick Young,” comes from a still from Episode 4 of YouTuber Casey Athena’s web series, “Thru the Lens.” Around halfway through the episode, Young’s mother says he used to be a clown when he was younger, and the basketball player has a bewildered expression.

Although it’s unclear who originally posted it, a screen grab of Young’s perplexed look with three question marks hovering to the left and right of his face, subsequently made the rounds online. 

Eventually, remixes of the “Confused” meme started to pop up. A now-defunct X (formerly known as Twitter) user named @WorldStarFunny photoshopped a sombrero on Young’s head and posted the picture with the caption, “Que?” The post also read, “When you find out El Chapo escaped a maximum security jail 2 times and you can’t even sneak out of your house.”

A few months later, another user, making fun of a recent breakup, photoshopped Young in a suit holding up a mind eraser tool from the movie “Men in Black.”

Instagram user @daquan posted the “Confused” meme with a caption detailing a funny incident. “Homeless guy comes up to me asking me ‘You got any spare change’ i reply ‘nah’ he said under his breath ‘Broke ass.'”

The meme was most popular on Black Twitter, and it was often paired with the hashtag #GrowingUpBlack, to share funny and relatable moments from childhood. 

Nick Young’s reaction to the meme

In January 2016, a year after the meme was popularized, the “Confused” meme met its human counterpart. Actor Lamorne Morris posted a video to his Instagram account, showing Young reacting to the meme. 

In the video, the actor tried to troll Young by holding up the meme on his phone at a Los Angeles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers game. Young, who appears quite serious at first, cracks into a huge smile and covers his face in amusement.

The “Confused” meme certainly left an impression on the world of memes. Even though it reached its peak popularity in 2014, there’s never a bad time to throw it into a conversation. It’s still commonly used today, and there’s certainly enough confusion out there on the internet to warrant its use.

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*First Published: Nov 12, 2023, 8:58 am CST