Top 20 Best Signature Moves In NBA History

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Top 20 Best Signature Moves In NBA History Empty Top 20 Best Signature Moves In NBA History

Post by bobheckler on Sat Aug 16, 2014 4:19 pm

http://dimemag.com/2014/01/20-best-signature-moves-nba-history/



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When you are playing basketball, there is always that time when you catch yourself imitating a move one of your favorite players did. I can remember when I was younger trying to imitate Jamal Crawford‘s shake-n-bake move, a move he usually pulls off on a fast break when he will dribble the ball behind his back and bring it back around as fast as he can, losing his defender. Let’s just say it did not work out for me (reason No. 76 why I am a writer).

The NBA is full of players that have transcended the game with moves they patented and made their own. Signature moves are all about efficiency, creativity and style. Below are the 20 best signature moves in NBA history.

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20. Tracy McGrady – off-the-backboard dunk
When T-Mac first pulled off this move during a preseason game in Boston during his first year in Orlando, he caught everyone off guard. Then he took it worldwide during the 2002 NBA All-Star Game. He continued doing it a couple more times in All-Star Games and regular season games.





19. LeBron – chase-down block
When a player is on a fast break against Miami — and Cleveland before that — they could never expect a 6-8 forward, as fast as anyone else in the league, to come out of nowhere to block their shot. LeBron has made it a signature and offensive players have to now think twice about casually coasting to the hoop.





18. Tony Parker – floater
Tony Parker never gets the respect he deserves. He stands only 6-2 but consistently ranks with the best in the league in points in the paint. One of the reasons is because of his beautiful tear-drop.





17. George Gervin – finger roll
George Gervin, also known as The Iceman, used his finger roll to gracefully put the ball in the hoop.





16. Jamal Crawford - shake-n-bake
Jamal Crawford has one of the best crossovers ever in the game. If you ask an NBA player right now who has the best handle in the league, many will say Jamal. It is like he has the ball on the string and defenders are his puppets. He is one of the best sixth men in the league for the Clippers and brings excitement every night.





15. Rajon Rondo – behind-the-back ball fake
Rajon Rondo may have not created the fake behind-the-back pass or ball fake, but he has used his fakes effectively for years. Eight years into the league, Rondo has become one of the best point guards in the NBA. After a year out with an ACL injury, last week against the Lakers, Rondo’s first bucket came after he faked a beautiful behind-the-back pass on Pau Gasol .




14. Dirk Nowitzki – one-legged fadeaway
Dirk’s one-legged fadeaway jumper is one of the most unstoppable moves ever in NBA history. It is hard enough to defend a 7-footer that can shoot with the best of them, but when he fades away it is close to impossible for a defender to guard it. He uses it effectively as he does not need that much space to get the shot off and puts a perfect arc on the ball. Looking at the video below, his fellow NBA colleagues talk about how difficult it is defending the shot. Players such as LeBron James and Kevin Durant have tried to mimic Dirk’s fadeaway but there can only be one.




13. Magic Johnson - no-look pass
It was “Showtime” when Magic Johnson was on the court. He is one of the greatest point guards to play the game. He was very tall, which made him see over defenders. His showmanship on the court was entertainment for fans, and because of all of this, he was one of the first to pull off “true” no-look passes




12. Tim Duncan – bank shot
People forget it is not illegal to use the backboard. Duncan has made a living off making the bank shot. Fundamentally sound, he makes the shot look easy while squaring up and releasing it off the glass.




11. Bob Cousy - flashy passes
Bob Cousy was the first showman in the NBA in the 1950s and ’60s and was nicknamed the “Houdini of the Hardwood”. He transformed the game with his playmaking and dazzling plays. With Bill Russell as his running mate, Cousy won six championships in seven years.





10. Kevin McHale - range of offensive post moves
Kevin McHale had one of the best inside games in the league during his 13-year stint with Larry Bird and the Celtics. His low-post game was very unique and it contained a variety of moves that upset defenders. Charles Barkley once stated that McHale was the greatest player he ever played against. McHale’s dominance in the post contained a series of pump fakes, hook shots and fadeaways that helped him become one of the most dominant offensive big men to ever play in the NBA.




9. Kobe Bryant - spin jumper
When a player is out there on the island facing Kobe Bryant, there is not much that defender can do but hope he is misses. Kobe arguably has the best footwork of any basketball player in the league. He treats basketball like it’s a science and knows which way his defender will lean or jump. He has so many weapons in his craft that make him effective.




8. Tim Hardaway – killer crossover aka the UTEP 2-Step
Tim Hardaway’s killer crossover was vicious back in the early ’90s. He changed the way players dribbled the basketball forever and broke a lot of ankles while doing so. He would run full stride and switch directions between-the-legs, leaving defenders looking frozen. John Stockton got it the worst on many occasions.




7. Manu Ginobili – Euro-step
Revolutionized the Euro-step and made it popular in the NBA. It seems like that is the go-to move in the NBA in recent years. Dwyane Wade has also used the move effectively and even Kendrick Perkins tried to take a crack it and failed miserably. It is one of the toughest moves to guard because Manu switches directions so fast — defenders think they can draw a charge — and he scores smoothly.




6. Dominique Wilkins - tomahawk dunk
Nicknamed The Human Highlight Film, Dominique was an incredibly gifted athlete that put on dunking exhibitions during games (Sorry, Blake, you were not first). He competed with Michael Jordan in almost every dunk contest in the ’80s and won a few.




5. Shaquille O’Neal – black tornado
Shaq was one of the most dominant forces ever in the league. His self-nicknamed move “The Black Tornado” was a move no defender wanted to be a part of… you know, with a swift 300-pounder spinning in the lane and dunking or catching a lob on their head.




4. Allen Iverson – crossover
Allen Iverson will forever be remembered for his devastating crossovers. Standing only at a supposed 6-0, Iverson used the moved brilliantly to create space and get his shots. He has become an idol for every basketball player who thinks they have handle. Iverson is also one of the few that can say that he had Michael Jordan on skates.




3. Hakeem Olajuwon – Dream shake
Hakeem owned David Robinson during the 1995 NBA Playoffs and embarrassed him with a series of countless Dream Shakes. It was rare to see a center with his skill-set, and he continually faked out opponents, losing them completely.




2. Michael Jordan – reverse layups
There is no NBA player in history that has had as many signature moves as his Airness. MJ defied gravity with an array of aerial moves that left crowds grasping. He had perfect flexibility, separating him from everybody else. My personal favorite is a significant play against the New Jersey Nets when he double-clutched twice in the air with two defenders on him and glided to the other side of the rim to make the shot.

We could’ve put his fadeaway here, too, seeing as he globalized that shot as well. But his reverse layups, with those monster-sized hands, were a thing of beauty, taking what Dr. J started and pushing it to the next level.




1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – skyhook
Kareem’s skyhook was impossible to defend as no one was tall enough to contest it. There was not much people could do — he was 7-2, with arms that reached to the sky, and a release on the shot that must’ve started a foot above his head.





bob



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Post by k_j_88 on Sat Aug 16, 2014 11:39 pm

Nice list.

No Pierce mid-range jumper, though?


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Post by Sam on Sat Aug 16, 2014 11:52 pm

KJ,

There have been a lot of players with very good mid-range jumpers.  I was surprised not to see Oscar or Jerry West on the list.  Elgin Baylor too, with the head bob.  No Wilt with the fadeaway.  For that matter, no Sam Jones with the bank shot.

But any list of individual accomplishments is likely to be as warped as the concept of aggrandizing individual accomplishments in general.

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Post by beat on Sun Aug 17, 2014 7:41 am

Was thinking about this...

If you could black out the head and make the person just a silhouette what moves could you easily determine who the player was.........

Think the Kareem sky hook would be most recognizable but after that.....

how about Earl Monroe's yo-yo dribble and spin?
or Hondo's............leaner?
or Nellie's..........one handed shot put type foul shot, similar but not the same as George McGinnis?
or Parish's..........rainbow 8-10 footer?
or Mutumbo's.........finger wag?
or Rick Barry's...........underhanded free throw's?
or Hal Greer.............shooting jumpers when shooting fouls, slightly off the center line?
or Jerry Lucas..........his outside jumper was one of a kind.

Think I could easily tell any of the above if all I saw was the outline in motion.

or what about these as signature moves??

Mike Newlin or Vlade Divac.............falling like dead trees in the forest during a windstorm?

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Post by Sloopjohnb on Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:02 am

"Mike Newlin or Vlade Divac.............falling like dead trees in the forest during a windstorm?"

HARRRH!!! I wonder if it makes a sound if no one is watching.

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Post by Sloopjohnb on Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:07 am

How about Bird's ball fake pass and pull back jumper?

Another move that belonged to no one else was Hondo's tiny baby steps when he moved without the ball. He ran like the wind but did not take long strides.

Sometimes he reminded me of one of those short legged dogs when he ran.

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Post by beat on Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:45 am

Sloop

Bird had every move, as did McHale in the low post. Not sure if any ONE stands above the other.

Perhaps another might be the ART of a Bill Russell block,
rarely did it result in the other team recovering it and rarely did he swat it out of bounds.
Rater than a swat it was more prone to be a tip and usually towards a teammate. No one whom blocks shots before or sense did it like Russ.

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Post by bobheckler on Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:58 am

beat wrote:Was thinking about this...

If you could black out the head and make the person just a silhouette what moves could you easily determine who the player was.........

Think the Kareem sky hook would be most recognizable but after that.....

how about Earl Monroe's yo-yo dribble and spin?
or Hondo's............leaner?
or Nellie's..........one handed shot put type foul shot, similar but not the same as George McGinnis?
or Parish's..........rainbow 8-10 footer?
or Mutumbo's.........finger wag?
or Rick Barry's...........underhanded free throw's?
or Hal Greer.............shooting jumpers when shooting fouls, slightly off the center line?
or Jerry Lucas..........his outside jumper was one of a kind.

Think I could easily tell any of the above if all I saw was the outline in motion.

or what about these as signature moves??

Mike Newlin or Vlade Divac.............falling like dead trees in the forest during a windstorm?

beat





beat,

Excellent. I like the way you frame the argument.


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Post by Sloopjohnb on Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:12 pm

"Bird had every move, as did McHale in the low post. Not sure if any ONE stands above the other."

Beat. I absolutely agree. But the writer did include Magic and Jordan so it seems remiss to not include the third member of the Holy Trinity.

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Post by Sam on Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:28 pm

I believe I could identify Cousy if the picture only showed him blowing his nose.  It could be argued that he had the largest number of signature moves: the behind the back dribble + around the back on the same play; the sidewinder baseball pass for touchdowns; the back-to-the basket fake and over-the-shoulder flip to a driving teammate; all five of his outside shot styles; and, perhaps most of all, his running hook shots from distance with either hand.  If he were shown only in profile, I'd just have to look at his back.  If it were perfectly straight with head up and eyes glued on opportunities so he looked somewhat like he was sitting in a straight-back chair, it would be The Cooz.

And I'm not at all biased.  Well, maybe a little bit....or a lot!

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Post by beat on Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:51 pm

Heck Sloop, Bob, and Sam

I call any cross over move, just a cross over move, and most of the time it's really a carry or a travel.
Jump shot?
Geesh almost all the really good players have a very nice one. Nothing really stands out in any one of them.

Magic's NO look passes?........... nothing that Pete Maravich wasn't doing in high school. Matter fact there wasn't too much Maravich could not do with a basketball. So what would be his signature move? And as Sam added............Cousy was doing these before Magic and Pete were born.

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Post by Sam on Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:57 pm

Beat, actually I didn't add the part about the timing of Cousy's magic, but I thank you for doing so.  You can ghost write for me any time.

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Post by pete on Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:08 pm

James Worthy, one of the quickest first steps, that spin move of his!

Thinking out side of the Celtics box for a change.

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Post by Sam on Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:13 pm

Pete,

I wonder what Magic would nave been without Worthy and Wilkes.  They were both created to take maximum advantage of his strengths.

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Post by pete on Mon Aug 18, 2014 6:28 am

Sam, good point.
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Post by Sloopjohnb on Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:28 am

I think that if Worthy and Wilkes never played with Magic, Magic's stature as one of the all time greats would not be diminished in the least though he would have fewer rings.

Jamal Wilkes was one player I would have loved to see wearing the green. The guy was a quiet assassin. People forget he dropped 37 on the 76'ers in Magic's legendary rookie game six clincher.

And he did the same thing with the Warriors earlier in his career.

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Post by Outside on Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:15 am

sam wrote:Pete,

I wonder what Magic would nave been without Worthy and Wilkes.  They were both created to take maximum advantage of his strengths.
You could say the same about various Celtic championship rosters. What would Cousy have been without his teammates? Or Russell? Or any great player on any great championship team, including the Spurs this year?

Great teams are assembled the way they are for a reason.
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Post by bobheckler on Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:02 pm

Outside wrote:
sam wrote:Pete,

I wonder what Magic would nave been without Worthy and Wilkes.  They were both created to take maximum advantage of his strengths.
You could say the same about various Celtic championship rosters. What would Cousy have been without his teammates? Or Russell? Or any great player on any great championship team, including the Spurs this year?

Great teams are assembled the way they are for a reason.


I agree with Outside and Sloop.

Great players are great players, period, and great players elevate the other players on the floor with them (and in the locker room) and/or are fed by them.  Great players create the system that succeeds.  Magic would have been great no matter what, he just would have elevated some other players instead of Worthy, Wilkes and even Kareem.  Would the Lakers have turned into the plodding Cleveland Cavaliers of Mike Fratello and Mark Price if Magic had been paired with a bunch of plodders?  I don't believe so, because Magic wanted to run and he would have run on his own with or without someone else.  It still would have been Showtime, it would have just been a one-man show.  Would that have been enough to win championships?  Who knows?  That would depend upon just how much of a downgrade those other players are compared to those 3 and would they have even tried to run with Magic.  Teams win championships, not players.  Granted, some players are central to those championships (Russell, Bird, Magic, MJ, Duncan, Kobe) but one player, even a great one, very rarely can beat a team in a seven game series (see Iverson, Allen; Erving, Julius).



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Post by Sam on Mon Aug 18, 2014 2:41 pm

Russell has said that, without Sam Jones, the Russell Celtics might have won two or three championships.  Certainly that was true in 1956-7, when Sam was not yet with the team.

My personal feeling is that a basic combination of four players in their prime (Russ, Cousy, Sam and Havlicek) would have been the core of a contender every single year.  Of course, that combination never happened.  The only season all four played together, Cousy was past his prime.  (And they won the championship anyway, which should tell us something).

The X-factor in any conjecture about the value of individual players with the Celtics is obviously Red Auerbach.  First, he had a knack of replacing departing role players with guys who were more than adequate to the task: Howell for Heinsohn; Embry (after a hiatus period) for Lovellette; Lovellette for Conley; Naulls for Ramsey; Nelson for Naulls; Siegfried for K.C.; etc.

Second, the presence of Red and the core of veterans he always seemed to have almost automatically guaranteed that  "retread" additions to the team adapted very quickly to the system.  In the latter respect, adaptation was relatively easy because all the players in the league knew the Celtics' plays.  All the new quys had to do was to gain a feel for the options.

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