That's the shot. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE
I was a bit surprised to see something interesting when I was on ESPN's NBA page today, rather than just a rehashed Dwight Howard/Lakers story or maybe a report how Miami is "working really hard" this off-season to try to win a second title. Titled "The NBA's most signature moves", this author, Beckley Mason, was counting down his top ten list of signature moves in the league right now. The NBA is a barren wilderness where breaking news comes to die right now -- nothing has happened, nothing is happening, and nothing will happen for a least a few more weeks. To find something creative and out of the box was actually exciting to me.
Well, it was a good list. It hit a lot of the most popular moves in the league, and a couple of my personal favorites. Derrick Rose's floater is one of my favorite shots in basketball, incredibly difficult but still possessing a sort of grace and elegance as it drops through the hoop from an almost 90 degree angle. ESPN's video gave great examples and yet somehow failed to include my personal favorite, his game winner on Christmas day against the Lakers.
Another one that stuck out to me is Tony Parker's push off using the ball. Too many times have I seen this move against the Mavericks, and yet I'm hardly complaining. I have no love for Tony, but I respect the hell out of his ability to finish at the rim despite his size and relative lack of jumping ability (compared to other high scoring guards in the NBA). He's a great player who I'm sure I'd love if he was a Maverick.
I really did enjoy watching and reading most of the moves on this list, so I'm sure you can imagine my disappointment when I realized what was left off. Dirk's one-footed fadeaway is one of the most signature shots in the entire NBA. The difficulty of the shot and the ease at which he makes it can seem impossible. In fact, the words "difficulty" and "ease" should repel from each other like oil and water. Yet tell me -- how else would you describe Dirk's patented move? It all but eliminates the defense; when Dirk pulls back to that one foot, no one is going to block him or even get close.
There will be people who complain about their favorite player's signature shot or move not being on there, but as good as Kobe Bryant's turn-around jumper is, I promise you he's far from the first person to use that shot. Dirk? That shot originates solely from him. Even when Kevin Durant or Kobe Bryant shoot that shot, notice what it's called: the Dirk shot. Just like the finger roll and George Gervin, Dirk's one-footed fadeaway should always be associated with him, no matter how many people start using it in the coming years.
So, Mr. Mason, let me say this. I understand how hard it is to write about the NBA when almost every viable topic has already been covered and re-covered and re-re-covered. I commend your thinking outside the box to find something that people are both interested in, but not fed up with. All I ask is that next time, you include perhaps the most recognizable basketball shot in the entire NBA somewhere in that top ten list over an Al Jefferson hook shot or Dwight Howard tapping someone's shoulder. Dirk will never ask for it, but he deserves the respect. Thanks!