The Best Moves in the History of the NBA

In today’s game many NBA players get nicknames. Anyone with good sounding initials and just a tad of skills gets the media to nickname him or even worst, he gives it to himself.

On the other hand, not many basketball moves get nicknames, and this is the list of the most memorable plays and moves by some great and less great players to be honored by getting nicknamed. Yes, they’re that awesome.

Baron Davis – The Bulletproof dunk

Baron Davis dunks on KirilenkoImage: Source

Baron Davis is enjoys many nicknames, some more known than others. BD obviously, B-Diddy, B-Dazzled and Boom Dizzle as plays on his initials. Black Moses for his beard and also Bulletproof, for being so strong and very hard to stop when he drives to the basket.

The Warriors after upsetting the Dallas Mavericks in the 2007 playoffs first round moved on to face Utah in the Western Semi Finals. Utah handled the Warriors pretty easily, winning the series 4-1, but Baron Davis had probably the most memorable moment of the series with his amazing dunk on Andrei Kirilenko, not an easy guy to dunk on, later called the “Bulletproof Dunk”.

Shawn Kemp – The Lister Blister

Shawn Kemp, Reign Man, DunksImage: Source

The Reignman – A nickname given to Kemp by the Seattle SuperSonics (may they rest in peace) announcer, Kevin Calabro. There are conflicting accounts for the reason he came up with this nickname, but I like to think it’s for his Reign around the rim.

One of the best dunkers in the history of the game was practically in almost every top 10 dunks of the week during the mid-90’s. His most famous one is this one on Alton Lister of the Golden State Warriors which was followed by some taunting finger pointing and was called The “Lister Blister“.

Shaquille O’neal – The Black Tornado

Shaquille O'neal Los Angeles Lakers Dunks on the Suns
Shaq dunking while the mayor of Sacramento watches in awe
Image: Source

O’neal is no stranger to nicknames – Shaq, The Diesel, The Big Aristotle and the more recent The Big Shaqtus after he moved to the Suns. He’s also called himself The most Dominant ever, to some degree of truth.

In his Prime O’neal was pretty unstoppable, no matter the defender guarding him. He has two famous dunks on David Robinson. One of them was during the All Star game in San Antonio, and the second one which is featured here even got a nickname, the “Black Tornado” for the spin move he used before dunking and posterizing The Admiral.

Vince Carter – Le Dunk De La Mort

Vince Carter Dunks on Frederic WeisImage: Source

Vince Carter has some great nicknames, some very flattering and some are more of a joke on him. Half Man – Half Amazing, Vinsanity and Air Canada are among the nice ones. There’s also the hilarious Half Man – Half Season regarding his knack for getting injured frequently.

Carter may be the highest flier to play Basketball, as shown in this amazing Dunk he performed OVER the head of Frederic Weis during the 2000 Olympics when the USA played France. Another funny side to this – The Knicks were so impressed with Weis getting dunked on they decided to sign him. His NBA career stat line: 0-0-0. He never got to play there.

Tim Hardaway – The Killer Crossover

Tim Hardaway Scoring on the SunsImage: Source

Hardaway tarnished his wonderful NBA career after his homophobic remarks two years ago during an interview. But despite that, Hardaway was one of the more exiting players in the league during the 90’s. First being part of Run TMC with Chris Mullin and Mitch Ritchmond in the high powered Golden State Warriors offense and later playing for Pat Riley’s Miami Heat during their successful late 90’s era.

He’ll probably be remembered for (besides the notorious radio interview) for his Killer Crossover which was also called The UTEP two-step (He played college in UTEP), a move he popularized among young players in the league during his heyday.

Hakeem Olajuwon – The Dream Shake

Hakeem Olajuwon Dunking on Shawn Kemp Image: Source

Hakeem The Dream Olajuwon – Maybe the best Center of all time. Combined beautifully finesse and power, often described as a Small Forward trapped in a Center’s body.

His best move which could be attributed to a few separate moves is The Dream Shake. Shaquille once siad about Olajuwon – Hakeem has five moves then four counter moves, that gives him 20 moves.

It’s best described just by watching it, and it features wonderfully in this video against David Robinson in a playoff game between the Rockets and the Spurs from 1995.

Magic Johnson – The Baby Hook

Magic Johnson, LA Lakers and NBA LegendImage: Source

Maybe if there was no Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson would be the greatest Basketball player ever. To some he is probably but they are a minority. Still, 3 MVP’s and 5 NBA titles go a long way, and Earvin “Magic” Johnson will always be one of basketball and sports in general all-time greats.

Magic’s ability to play any position and lead the “Showtime” Lakers on fast breaks during the 80’s fill many highlight films but his only named move is the Baby Hook/Junior Hook that won a game in the last second during the finals vs the Boston Celtics in 1987.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – The Sky hook

Kareem Abddul-Jabbar Sky Hooking over OlajuwonImage: Source

Kareem’s Sky Hook was the father of Magic’s Baby Hook. Kareem wasn’t the first to use it. George Mikan, the first dominant big man in the NBA and a true pioneer of professional basketball in America. He used an ambidextrous kinda sky hook but Kareem perfected it into an impossible shot to stop.

Jabbar will be remembered for a lot of things – College Basketball legend, 6 MVP awards, 6 NBA titles, 19 All Star games and of course being the NBA’s all time leading scorer with 38’387 points. One of the game’s all time greats, Jabbar”s image wearing goggles and shooting the sky hook is a significant part of NBA history and lore.

Michael Jordan – The Move

Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls, The best everImage: Source

Air Jordan, His Airness, God. The Greatest ever. He deserves the most words, but he needs the least. It’s debatable when exactly Jordan became the best, and when he became the best ever. This Basket against the Lakers in the 1991 NBA Finals, his first Title among six is the moment I feel MJ stopped being a regular man and became the legend he is. This switch of hands in mid-air, The Move, is where the legend begins.

6 responses to “The Best Moves in the History of the NBA”

  1. Gervin’s fingeroll, Pete Maravich’s anything, Tim Duncan banking the shot in, Russell getting the block to set up the fast break, Dr. J. behind the backboard back in and in, Earl Munroe… this is a fun list, but you could’ve thinned out some of it and included some classics. At least Dr. J.

  2. Where is the “Shaquille O’Niel Drop Step”?
    That is one of the greatest moves of all time.
    And the “Allen Iverson Crossover”?
    and “Steve Nash golden pass”?

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