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Signatures Moves: Then


An arsenal of distinctive moves from the legends


A signature move is a special thing in basketball. It is usually a paradox, simultaneously simple and unguardable. Within the NBA, some moves have become so iconic that they have become a shorthand for the player. These go-to moves are used by their respective legends again and again, and they are able to get it off against just about any defender. Needless to say, shooting percentages are sky-high, and these moves are often imitated but never replicated.


Skyhook: No list of NBA signature moves is complete with the skyhook from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. This smooth, high-release shot has driven many defenders to frustration, and propelled ‘Cap’ to the ultimate spot atop the NBA scoring charts.


Post-up fadeaway: Although his highflying, tongue-out antics are more commonly seen on highlight reels, Michael Jordan’s post-up fadeaway is the true masterpiece for NBA connoisseurs. It has spawned a generation of imitators and granted longevity to ‘His Airness’, allowing him to dominate the League even in his final seasons. 


Dream shake: Hakeem Olajuwon’s agility and flair came through most strongly in his iconic post move. This dazzling array of shot fakes, body fakes and intricate footwork won him two NBA titles and the 1994 NBA MVP award in an era full of talented big men, none of whom could stop him.
Finger roll: This shot has been popularized today, but no one could do it quite like ‘The Iceman’. Few players have anything resembling range on their finger rolls, but George Gervin was able to combine that with grace and athleticism.


Killer crossover: Also known as the UTEP Two-Step for Miners legend Tim Hardaway, the quick double crossover move left defenders in his trail. They always knew he was going right, but somehow nobody could stop the move.


Splitting the defense: Mark Price was a master of this move, frequently splitting the double team in pick-and-roll situations to squeeze into the exposed lane. This tricky maneuver has became a staple in most point guards’ repertoires.


Smitty: Only a few players have had the honor of a move named after them, but Steve Smith’s look-away spin move is so good and so timeless that it has become associated forever with his name.