Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Another JA Adande gem on ESPN about Kareem and the hook shot. Being that I love the art of post play and coach the post players here at Concordia, I was very interested in this read. I, too, remember watching Kareem as a kid. The "sky hook" (or maybe horizon line hook in my case) was my bread and butter so to speak. I wasn't physically gifted. I wasn't quick. I wasn't very strong. But that hook shot could not be blocked.

"We can thank George Mikan and Cliff Hagan for the origins of Abdul-Jabbar's hook shot. Abdul-Jabbar doesn't have memories of watching Mikan, the Minneapolis Laker who was the NBA's first dominant big man. But he did use the drill that was named for him and consisted of shooting a hook shot from the right side with the right hand, then a hook from the left side with the left hand and repeating while slowly moving further away from the basket. Abdul-Jabbar did see Hagan use the hook shot as a player for the St. Louis Hawks, a reminder that the hook could be used effectively at all levels of the game."

"When you shoot it, you force people to wait for you to go up," he said, " And if they wait until I started to shoot it then they'd have to judge the distance and time it, and it's gone before they can catch up to it. That's, for me, the beauty of it. You're in control because of when you're gonna release it and where. The defense has to see that and calculate everything before they get an opportunity to block it."

"If a defender overplayed him to the right to take away the hook, he would just spin back around to his left to shoot a jump shot or, in later years, a lefty version of the skyhook."

"(Shaquille) O'Neal calls the skyhook "one of the most effective shots" in the history of the game, which makes you wonder why he never adopted it himself. 'My father made me shoot it all the time,' O'Neal said. 'Being a hip-hop kid, I didn't want to do it. We're different. We like to be a lot cooler.'

Abdul-Jabbar concedes "it's not a macho shot,"

"I used it to become the leading scorer in the history of the NBA," Abdul-Jabbar said. "There has to be something about it that works."

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