Hakeem's Dream Shake and the 50 Most Devastating Signature Moves in NBA History
Almost every player in the NBA has a signature move that they turn to. However, there are very few, if any, original moves left.
As the saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Some of these moves may have been rarely used, while others are constantly abused.
Even so, many players are synonymous with at least one signature move.
50. Jason Williams Elbow Pass
When you hear the name Jason Williams, you think of two things: White Chocolate and "the elbow pass."
In the 2000 NBA Rookie Game, Jason Williams was running a fast break when he blew the minds of fans everywhere. Williams faked a behind-the-back pass to his right and bounced the ball off of his elbow into the hands of a streaking teammate to his left.
For months to come, you were guaranteed to see someone attempt this every time you went to any public court.
49. Rasheed Wallace Technical
Rasheed is lucky that he retired before the 2010-11 NBA season. If 'Sheed was playing under the new technical foul rules, he would get suspended every five games.
Wallace would lose most of his salary from all the $2,000 fines piling up from every complaint he lobbed toward the nearest referee.
48. Dwight Howard's Mid-Air Steal
Well, this is really a block, but most blocks tend to end up in the stands somewhere.
Dwight uses his freakish athleticism to jump up in the air and snatch shots before they even have a remote chance of getting near the rim.
47. Reggie Evans Gonad Grab
Even though Reggie only pulled this particular move off once—at least that we know of—his name will always be associated to this play. His victim, Chris Kaman, was none too happy with Reggie's wandering hands.
Evans reached from behind and yanked on Kaman's testicles. This resulted in a forceful shove from Kaman that sent Reggie tumbling into the base of the basketball hoop.
Reggie will be forever be remembered for his abysmal shooting from the line and taking liberties with his hands.
46. Euro Flop
There are various names for it, but the Euro Flop has a nice ring to it. Now, Europeans aren't the only players that flop, but let's just say they're renowned for their acting abilities.
Manu Ginobili is probably the most infamous of the group, but he's certainly not alone.
One of the worst perpetrators today is none other than Anderson Varejao and his mop-head flop.
45. Dwyane Wade Circus Shot
Wade has near unparalleled body control.
When Dwyane penetrates into the lane, he's able to contort his body and hit the most ridiculous off-balance shots. No matter the angle, Wade somehow manages to put the ball through the net.
44. Rick Barry Free Throw
Rick Barry sacrificed personal dignity when he chose to shoot his free throws underhanded.
Say what you will about his technique, but he was the third-most accurate shooter at the charity stripe, with a career free-throw percentage of 90.
43. Dave Cowens Jump Hook
Dave Cowens was an undersized center, banging down low with bigger players while standing at 6'9".
Cowens had a soft touch around the rim and he frequently turned to his jump hook to get his shot over the outstretched arms of taller defenders.
42. The Kobe
There are five steps to the move known simply as The Kobe. While Kobe pioneered the move, it has since been adopted by Kevin Durant.
2. Jab step inside
3. Dribble baseline
4. Fake inside
5. Fade away jumper
41. Vince Carter Hurdle
Vince will always be known for the greatest dunk of all time. The footage speaks for itself.
40. Posterizing Shawn Bradley
Shawn Bradley was the target of high-flyers everywhere.
Apparently, it was a rite of passage to dunk on the giant, and it became a running joke over the years. It seemed like he got dunked on at least once per game.
39. Chocolate Thunder
In 1979, Daryl Dawkins threw down a monster dunk against the Kansas City Kings that shattered the backboard. He would repeat this feat several weeks later to the dismay of the powers that be. It would then be deemed a punishable offense.
Daryl dubbed the dunk "The Chocolate-Thunder-Flying, Robinzine-Crying, Teeth-Shaking, Glass-Breaking, Rump-Roasting, Bun-Toasting, Wham-Bam, Glass-Breaker-I-Am-Jam."
38. Tracy McGrady Off-the-Backboard Dunk
Tracy popularized the off-the-backboard dunk. He may not be the first to do it, but he was one of the few that used the move in game situations—as opposed to in dunk contests—on a regular basis.
37. LeBron James Chase-Down Block
The Cavaliers, at one point, started to keep track of all of LeBron's chase-down blocks in hopes that it would one day be counted as a statistic. It's safe to assume that the organization no longer records such a statistic, but the chase-down block became synonymous with LeBron.
James may not be the first to do it, nor even the best, but he popularized it.
36. Dennis Rodman Kick-Out Rebound
Dennis Rodman would occasionally flail his legs out when grabbing a rebound. It was almost as if he was jump-kicking anyone in his way in order to clear out space.
35. Robert Parrish Put-Back
"The Chief" had a nose for the ball. Forget to box him out and he'll make you pay.
If a missed shot went anywhere near his way, you could expect him to get a hand on the ball for the put-back.
34. Rajon Rondo Ball Fakes
Rondo borrows some of his moves from one of the all-time greats of the NBA. Except that man was a center.
Rajon is capable of freezing even the best defenders in their tracks with his unbelievably quick and deceptive ball fakes.
He takes advantage of his abnormally large hands when manipulating the ball.
He does everything from behind-the-back fakes to shakes.
33. Deron Williams Crossover to Stepback Jumper
Not many people may realize this, but Deron Williams has arguably the best crossover in the NBA today.
One of Deron's go-to moves is crossing up his man to create space and stepping back to drill an uncontested jumper.
32. Carmelo Anthony Jab Step
Carmelo is a scoring machine.
One of Carmelo's favorite moves is to do a quick jab step to gauge the reaction of the man defending him. Due to his quick first step, defenders have to be on their toes, and he takes advantage using the jab as a fake.
If Carmelo's opponent bites on the jab, he can switch directions and create space for his deadly jumper or drive right down the lane.
31. Tony Parker Teardrop
Tony Parker is one of the few players to have truly mastered the teardrop shot.
Parker's masterful ability to slash into the paint coupled with his devastating teardrop make him an absolute nightmare to guard. This move helps him shoot over bigger defenders with impunity.
The teardrop helped Parker dominate points in the paint for a good part of this decade.
30. James Worthy Statue of Liberty Dunk
While running the fast break, Worthy was known for finishing in transition in the Statue of Liberty pose.
He also used to terrorize opposing defenses coming along the baseline using the same pose to dunk on his opponents.
29. Dwyane Wade Spin Move
Wade is the best slasher in the game today.
One of his favorite moves when cutting through a defense is to spin his way around and through a crowd to get to the rim.
28. Bob Cousy Behind-the-Back Pass
Bob Cousy pioneered the behind-the-back pass. He was known as the "Houdini of the Hardwood," and he was Magic before Magic was even born.
Cousy had amazing peripheral vision and he was the blueprint for some of the best point guards in the game today.
27. Dr. J Cradle Dunk
Dr. J took playing above the rim to new heights.
One of his signature dunk moves was the "Rock the Baby" cradle dunk. The greatest highlight of his career is easily his cradle dunk against the Lakers, and it's one of the greatest plays in NBA history.
26. Kevin Garnett Shimmy to Fadeaway
Kevin doesn't use this move as often as he used to, but his shimmy fadeaway has long been a staple of his offensive arsenal.
When he was posting up on his man, back to the hoop, Garnett would pull off a shimmy, faking from one side to the other and turning around to knock down the fadeaway.
24. Ray Allen Off-Screen Catch-and-Shoot
Anyone tasked with guarding Ray Allen must be ready for a track meet.
Allen runs circles around defenders all game long. He comes off endless screens in order to create just enough space to drill his picture-perfect jumper.
24. Dirk Nowitizki Fadeaway Jumper
Dirk's deadly shooting touch made him a headache to guard. When a seven-footer with nearly unlimited range can shoot like he does, it's impossible to block him when he fades away.
23 Jason Kidd No-Look Pass
Jason Kidd has eyes on the back of his head.
Kidd was able to make the perfect pass without so much as batting an eye in the direction of his teammate. He would completely freeze defenders as they helplessly watched Jason dump the ball to one of his teammates with near clairvoyance for the easy score.
22. Reggie Miller Legs-Out Jumpshot
Reggie Miller, one of the greatest shooters in the history of the NBA, managed to get to the foul line time and time again by forcing contact.
When Miller pulled up for a jumper, he would kick his legs out to get the call.
It may have been a dirty move, but it was effective nonetheless.
21. Oscar Robertson Overpower Drive
Oscar Robertson had the whole package.
He would use his imposing frame and strength to power past smaller or weaker guards to get to the hoop.
20. George Gervin Finger Roll
George Gervin had arguably the smoothest finger roll in NBA history. This signature move helped him to win numerous scoring titles.
Gervin was capable of nailing finger rolls from as far as the free throw line, much like how players use the teardrop today.
19. Jamal Crawford Shake and Bake
Jamal Crawford uses his street ball handles to embarrass defenders on this move.
Crawford dribbles the ball behind his back and then gathers the ball and hops right by his defender as he brings the ball back the other way.
18. Shaq's Elbows
Get near Shaq at your own risk.
When Shaq has the ball between his hands, he loves to bring his arms up and swing those elbows out.
If you were near him in the post, you're essentially consenting to the possibility of coming out of the play with a shiner, bloody nose or missing teeth.
17. Kobe Bryant's Turnaround Fadeaway
Kobe Bryant has made his turnaround fadeaway one of his go-to moves.
Bryant absolutely demolishes defenders with this move as it is incredibly difficult to block.
The Black Mamba has drilled numerous game-winners using this particular move.
16. Allen Iverson Killer Crossover
Allen Iverson made a living off his crossover.
Iverson was lightning quick and he may have broken the most ankles of any player over the course of his illustrious career.
15. Patrick Ewing Post Catch to Turnaround Jumper
Patrick Ewing turned to this move often to rack up points.
Ewing would catch the ball near or on the low block and quickly turn around to pop a jumper. His size, soft shooting touch and speed made this incredibly tough to defend.
14. Jerry West Pull-Up Jumper
Jerry West dominated on the offensive end of the floor.
"The Logo" was incredibly quick and since he was unable to power through most defenders, he used his speed to pull up and shoot jumpers before the defense could react.
13. Dikembe Mutumbo Finger Wag Block
Mutumbo was a defensive force.
Dikembe will always be known as a shot blocker, and he always did his denial finger wag after blocking a shot.
12. Payton to Kemp Alley-Oop
The Sonic Boom duo obliterated defenses on the fast break. The two were like a runaway freight train barreling through anything in its path.
Payton pitched perfect lob passes, and Shawn Kemp threw them down with ease.
11. Tim Hardaway UTEP Two-Step
Tim Hardaway had the greatest crossover in the history of the NBA. There is no argument to be had.
10. Dominique Wilkins Tomahawk Dunk
Dominique wasn't called the Human Highlight Reel for nothing.
Wilkins had freakish athleticism and he was able to throw down thunderous dunks with ease.
His signature move was the two-handed tomahawk slam. He overpowered even the biggest defenders with this dunk.
9. Tim Duncan Bank Shot
Money in the bank.
Duncan perfected the bank shot over his illustrious career. No matter the angle, Tim always nailed it right off the glass.
8. Kevin McHale Up and Under
Nowadays, Kevin McHale may look like some sort of Frankenstein in a suit, but he was one of the most devastating low-post scorers in the history of the NBA.
McHale's trademark move was the up-and-under fake. He was incredibly adept at getting defenders to bite on the fake and this move was the most impressive of his devastating low-post arsenal.
7. Magic Johnson No-Look Pass
Magic Johnson was the greatest point guard to ever play the game. He was able to masterfully direct an offense and create plays from nothing.
Johnson's no-look pass played a key role in the "Showtime" Lakers era. He was a true wizard with the ball and it seemed as if he could deliver pinpoint passes with a blindfold on.
6. Stockton to Malone Pick-and-Roll
John Stockton and Karl Malone made a living off the pick-and-roll.
Stockton owes many of his assists to the pick-and-roll, and the same goes for Malone and all the points he scored.
5. Michael Jordan Tongue-Wag Dunk
Michael wasn't called Air Jordan for nothing.
When Jordan soared through the air for a dunk, he could almost always be seen with his tongue sticking out.
4. Wilt Chamberlain Finger Roll
For a big man, Wilt was able to score with a variety of moves. His moves were not restricted to simple low-post moves and dunks.
One of Wilt's favorite moves was posting up and spinning around and laying the ball into the hoop with a finger roll.
3. Hakeem's Dream Shake
Hakeem took embarrassment to a new level.
For a center, Hakeem was incredibly agile and used a dizzying array of spin moves and fakes to score around anyone in his way. His incredible footwork made it easy for him to do.
Olajuwon would get his man to bite on a fake and send him one way, while he went in the opposite direction and scored with ease.
2. Kareem's Sky Hook
Often imitated, but never duplicated.
Kareem's career scoring record is due in large part to the sky hook.
His teammate, Magic Johnson, adapted his very own "baby hook." Even still, it was no match for Kareem's patented move.
Kareem would bend his body toward the rim while releasing the shot at the pinnacle of his reach. It was near impossible to block due to his size and speed.
1. Shaq Attack
The only way you can stop Shaq when he went up for a dunk was to foul him or bring a double-team. There's not much anyone can do when 330-plus lbs. of force comes reigning down.
Shaq could completely stop a game in progress and postpone it with his glass-shattering, backboard-breaking, tear-down-the-rim dunks.