For roughly about 15 years, the crossover has been the signature dribble move that many top perimeter players have worked to perfect. The move has become so synonymous with good ball-handling that it has spawned its own style of basketball (AND1) and followers.
The crossover was originally used in the 60′s by Oscar Robertson, who executed a basic crossover dribble. Ball-handling legend Tim Hardaway perfected the double crossover in the late 80′s (at UTEP) and the early 90′s (with the Golden State Warriors). Finally, Allen Iverson came into the league in the mid 90′s and commercialized the move by embarrassing legions of NBA veterans.
Many excellent guards contributed to the crossover revolution. Not to be outdone were Stephon Marbury, Jason Williams, Steve Francis and a young Jason Kidd, to name a few.
Who have they passed the torch to? Who are the best anklebreakers in the NBA today?
Chris Paul: This guy IS the New Orleans Hornets. The legit MVP candidate leads his team in points, assists and steals, and shoots an amazing 49.5% from the field. He is, at the very least, one of the top playmakers in the league. And, oh yeah, he knows a thing or two about crossing people over…
Deron Williams: Williams is a dominant point guard. Playing in Jerry Sloan’s system – which relies on a lot of pick and roll – puts him squarely in charge of the Utah scheme. The Fighting Illini alum also adds strength to a repertoire that includes the typical point guard attributes. His crossover is like lightning.
Dwayne Wade: One of the top-3 multi-talented players in the NBA, Wade brings the heat night after night. He’s a big time scorer, and creates space with one of the best ankle-breaking moves in the game.
Derrick Rose: The 2008-09 ROY made the Chicago Bulls important once again. He was at the heart of a thrilling first-round series that his Bulls played against the Boston Celtics. NBA fans from all around saw how he leads his team into battle. The future looks very bright with Rose breaking ankles for the next decade.
Even though these guys are probably the ones who produce the most consistent ankle-breaking highlights, the NBA is so saturated with athletes that just about any player is capable of embarrassing someone on any given night.
So don’t blink…or you might end up picking yourself up off the floor.
Watch and Vote: Who’s the best dunker in the NBA?