Over the course of the year, we’ve seen many players leave a huge footprint in the league and in our memories thanks to some original and innovating moves that always caught defenders off guard, no matter how many times they repeated it.
Those signature moves made people fall in love with the features of those players that featured them, and you could (and still can) watch kids from all over the world trying to copy these smooth movements to try and become NBA stars themselves.
Today, we’ll take a trip down memory lane while we take a look at the top 7 NBA signature moves in NBA history, as well as honoring those players that made them so popular.
Honorable Mentions: Tim Duncan – bank shot
7. Eurostep – Manu Ginobili
Nobody knew much of the Argentinian shooting guard out of Italy when he first came into the league, but Ginobili made an instant name for himself with one of the most effective offensive moves this game has ever seen: the Euro-step. Manu made the Euro-step his ultimate go-to move, being a combination between a hard contested layup and a very fast crossover, changing directions very quickly to finish with his strong hand.
6. One-legged Fadeaway – Dirk Nowitzki
Of course, we can’t talk about signature moves without talking about Nowitzki’s one-legged shot, as that’s definitely the move that we all remember the German for over his long and successful NBA career. This shot is different from the regular fadeaway and it’s even more difficult, as the offensive player is completely off balance while stepping on just one leg, taking a step back to shoot with a lot of arc over their defenders, making it practically impossible to block the shot.
5. Crossover – Allen Iverson
Iverson was completely unstoppable when crossing defenders over, constantly making them fall back down on their butts. In fact, Allen became an instant sensation during his rookie year when he was courageous and disrespectful enough to actually cross Michael Jordan, one of the ultimate defenders the league has ever seen. You never knew where Iverson was going to go when he had the ball in his hands, threatening to go one way while breaking your ankles and taking the other direction.
4. Footwork – Kobe Bryant
We’ve all witnessed the Black Mamba put defenders on their heels with his amazing footwork, especially in the post like he was a frontcourt player instead of a freaking shooting guard. Kobe’s been accused of being a ball stopper because of this move, but when he turned the corner without lifting his pivot foot, you know you were in for a highlight, as Bryant was extremely quick when spinning over his own shoulder and taking flight immediately afterward.
3. Dream Shake – Hakeem Olajuwon
Olajuwon was so freakily talented and extremely gifted for his height, and he was one of the most crafty and skilled players in the post this game has ever seen. Even despite everybody knowing that he was going to do the dream shake, the Dream still managed to pull it off. Hakeem was attacking the rim at full speed and suddenly he stopped and turned the other direction, making defenders fall for it all the freaking time, leaving the lane wide open for an uncontested layup thanks to one of the most beautiful shot fakes + spins you’ll ever see.
2. Skyhook – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
We have to honor the league’s leading scorer in its entire history with the move that made that distinction possible: the Skyhook. Kareem was completely automatic from anywhere thanks to this move due to his long range and high release point, making it completely impossible to block this shot that came over his head while turning around and shooting over his shoulders. Kareem had such great accuracy with this crafty move, it was just unstoppable, and even if many centers have tried to nail the skyhook, nobody will ever do it as well as the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
1. Fadeaway – Michael Jordan
Jordan actually made this move quite famous due to the consistency that he had while shooting one of the most difficult and contested kind of shots in the game. Of course, everybody fades away now, but nobody (except for maybe Kobe) did it in such a smooth manner as his royal Airness did, apparently falling back down and losing all his balance before releasing the ball to score over taller defenders.