In “Girl’s Guide to Basketball Maneuvers” we briefly touched on the “crossover dribble,” one of the most powerful skills that one can master in basketball.
Let’s quickly refresh what we learned then:
What is Dribbling?
Anytime a player in possession of the ball moves both of his feet, he must dribble, or bounce, the ball on the ground. Why? No idea, just one of those rules that comes with the game that has been around forever. If he does not dribble the ball while moving, it is a violation called traveling.
But not all bounces are the same. Dribbling can be broken down into:
- Crossover (commonly used phrase: Killer Crossover): switches the dribbling hand back and forth from left to right to confuse defenders, and allow the player to go left or right at a moments notice.
- Low/control: keeping the ball very low to the ground, helps to protect against other players stealing the ball.
- Speed: great when no one is around and it’s a wide open court. Used to advance the ball quickly up the court.
We are going to be focusing primarily on the Crossovers, because if a player can develop a killer crossover, he is able to achieve the Triple Threat Position.
What is The Triple Threat?
When a player is in a position where he can shoot, pass, or dribble, he becomes a triple threat to his defenders because they don’t know which to defend against. This means he has control of the ball and has yet to move either foot. So he can pivot and create space or pass, take a jump shot or fade-away, or drive to the lane.
The Killer Crossover
Crossovers come in many different styles: Normal, half, behind-the-back, double and of course, the killer crossover.
Colloquially known as “the ankle breakers,” the Killer Crossover is extremely difficult to defend against because you can’t predict what the player you are guarding is going to do. When the player fakes to the right and suddenly switches to the left, the defender tries to quickly adjust to the fake-out move and often,slip, fall, or even twist their ankles.
Tim Hardaway, who played for Golden State and then Miami, is credited with popularizing the killer crossover in the 90s. It was dubbed the “UTEP 2 Step.” (UTEP meaning University of Texas at El Paso, Hardaway’s alma mater). His ability to switch up and blow past his defenders was legendary—and unguardable.
The Double Crossover
Over the last decade, the UTEP 2-Step has come a long way. Every new generation has added a new spin (literally, some players spin or go round the back in a crossover move…) or trick to the crossover. Allen Iverson is famous for his “double crossover,” which is just what the name implies: two crossovers back-to-back. It’s not an easy set of motions to achieve since the body and ball is still in motion from the first “fake out” and now you are attempting a second. It’s rare that a defender can keep up with it.
I found two incredible videos that highlight the skill and technique of the Crossover. They are even titled “Ankle Breaker Series.” They are a bit long, but definitely worth watching since they feature all the killer crossover artists like Steve Nash, Carmelo Anthony, Stephon Marbury, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Michael Jordan, John Stockton… just to name a few!