Dirk Nowitzki's One-Legged Fadeaway and 25 Most Unstoppable Moves in NBA History
He may not have had it going in the first three quarters of tonight's game, but Dirk Nowitzki's incredible one-legged fadeaway came out of hiding during the fourth quarter of what proved to be the last game of the 2010-11 season.
Dirk and his nearly unguardable, go-to move erased years of criticism tonight, as he led the Dallas Mavericks to the first title in franchise history.
The one-legged fadeaway was on display throughout the postseason and is starting to become the stuff of legend.
It's already in the pantheon of the game's greatest signature moves. What else is there?
Here are the 25 most unstoppable moves in NBA history...
25: Rondo's Go-Go Gadget Fake
Rondo has victimized scores of defenders with his fantastic ball fakes.
Whether he's doing it to set up teammates or finish himself, the fakes almost always give him the time and space he needs to make a play.
24: Reggie Miller's Curl
Unstoppable moves aren't always executed by the guy handling the rock. Some of the game's greatest scorers did most of their work off the ball.
That's the case with Reggie Miller, who knew how to use screens as well as anyone who's ever played in the NBA.
One of the hardest things for people to defend was when Reggie curled off a screen. And he always knew exactly when to do it.
23: LeBron's Crab Dribble
Yahoo! contributor Eric Malcolm offered a fantastic explanation of the notorious crab dribble when he tried to explain how to execute the move:
"While in or near the paint (the shaded box within the free-throw line), grab the ball with both hands, take three or four steps while moving the ball to the left or right of your body while still holding the ball, and while shaking off defenders, and near the basket, lay-up the ball for the goal. (Caution: this may result in a traveling call, unless you are LeBron James)."
22: D-Wade's Step Back
The step-back jump shot is a critical skill for any player who wants to do any real damage on the perimeter.
One of the most effective step-backs of all-time is Dwyane Wade's.
He often sets it up with a backwards through-the-legs dribble, but in this clip he goes a little more old-school with the move.
21: Steve Nash's Reverse
Steve Nash has quite a collection of seemingly unstoppable moves at his disposal.
Since he joined Phoenix, most of those moves are used to set up teammates, but occasionally he goes in for the score himself.
If he's around the basket, scoring often means the reverse for Nash. He often slides under the hoop, tosses the ball backwards over his head and hits nothing but net.
In this particular play, he goes glass.
20: Garnett's Turnaround J
Kevin Garnett's turnaround is unstoppable for a few reasons.
He's very crafty with the shoulder fakes he uses to set his man up initially. His athleticism allows him to get separation very quickly. And his length makes it very hard for defenders to contest it.
19: Manute's Treys
Can you imagine trying to defend the release of a shot from a 7'7" man?
I know he only hit 43 three-pointers in his career, but anyone who has it in their heart to hate on this slide is just a cyber-bully.
18: Tony Parker's Floater
The floater is a great move for a point guard to have.
Speed and quickness may make it easy to get into the lane, but shooting over guys who are nearly a foot taller requires some creativity.
Parker's floater may be the best we've ever seen.
17: McHale's Up-and-Under
These days, players try to create openings with little more than their athleticism. Most post players would be wise to study a little Kevin McHale.
The up-and-under is a great move and would be particularly effective against today's hop-happy defenders.
16: Duncan's Bank Shot
Speaking of fundamentals, how about a little from "The Big Fundamental" himself?
15: Ginobili's Euro-Step
It makes me sick to have three Spurs on this list. If you could ask anyone who knows me, they'd tell you San Antonio is my least tolerable team until this year's Heat came together.
Anyway, I guess the three Spurs on this list had pretty good moves. After all, they led to a few titles.
Like LeBron's crab dribble, this one is often an uncalled travel. Can't really blame Manu if they don't blow the whistle.
14: Tim Hardaway's Crossover
A lot of people think Hardaway was the best we've ever seen with the crossover. I think there's still one better.
13: Magic's Baby Hook
This move was part of an iconic moment in Magic's career, but it wasn't the only time he used it.
12: Iverson's Crossover
Like I said, I consider at least one guy's crossover skills to be superior to Tim Hardaway's.
11: Gervin's Finger Roll
Gervin's length made his finger roll ridiculous.
10: Earl the Pearl's Spin Move
Earl Monroe was one of the greatest players of all-time and his dominance had a lot to do with being ahead of his time.
The flair and style he brought to the game in the '60s helped bring the game into a more exciting era.
His spin move baffled plenty of defenders.
9: Pistol Pete's Array of Fakes
It's extremely difficult to pick out just one move for "Pistol" Pete. The majority of what he did with the basketball was crazy.
8: Kobe's Reverse Pivot
7: Wilt the Stilt's Finger Roll
Wilt was an anomaly for his time, so things looked pretty easy for him (at least at the beginning of his career).
In the rare instances when someone was anywhere near his level physically and able to prevent a dunk, Wilt had a beautiful finger roll.
6: Malone's Pick-and-Roll Footwork
It took a wide variety of shots for Karl Malone to post just under 37,000 points.
Perhaps his go-to move was what he did before thousands of those shots. Malone was a master at being the roll guy in pick-and-rolls with John Stockton.
5: Hakeem's Dream Shake
This one takes the cake for coolest name on the list.
"The Dream Shake" was essentially Hakeem's up-and-under. His fakes and finishes were enhanced by athleticism that McHale didn't possess (at least not to the extent Olajuwon possessed).
4: Nowitzki's One-Legged Fadeaway
Dirk Nowitzki's incredible fadeaway has been darn-near unguardable for years, but people are just now taking notice because of the way he's used it to dominate these playoffs.
Imagine trying to defend a player who's over seven feet tall, releasing the ball from well over his head while falling away.
The fact that it goes in helps. Dirk may have the greatest mid-range shot of all-time.
3: Shaq's Drop Step
Shaquille O'Neal was the most physically dominant player in the history of the NBA.
He wasn't just huge, (7'1" and over 300 pounds for most of his career) but he could move too.
He knew how to use his body to seal off any defender, then had the ability to lose (or go through) whoever was on him with a variety of moves. His drop step was unstoppable.
2: Jordan's Fadeaway
Michael Jordan is the greatest player of all-time.
He had plenty of moves that made him unstoppable. The fadeaway was perhaps the most iconic.
1: Kareem's Sky Hook
No one has come close to duplicating Kareem's sky hook since he left the league.
He was 7'2", released the ball from behind his head (and way above it), and hit it consistently.
No move before or since has been more unstoppable than this one.