By: Rob Botts
There have been so many effective, unstoppable, blistering types of shots throughout the game of basketball through the years. There have been jump shots, pull up shots, up and under shots, running shots, dunk shots and so many others that could fill a history book. But there can only be ONE best shot of all time, and it isn’t even close. The hook shot. A certain kind of hook shot to be exact. The “Sky Hook”.
Back when the dinosaurs were roaming the earth, there was one man who used the hook shot and brought it to early prominence. Of course, it was Minneapolis Laker legend, Mr. George Mikan. There would come to be a drill named after that great NBA center that every single basketball camp across the cooling planet earth was teaching young ballers; used as a way to perfect touch and effectiveness around the rim. Head up, knee up, arm up, ball up and through the rim. Right side. Left side. Repeat. This was the early model that had been developed.
Then came along a certain center who would come to be known as “The Captain” once he was a Laker legend. His heroics were well documented through his years at college powerhouse UCLA, and into his early National Basketball Association run with those 1970s Milwaukee Bucks. And a certain, particular part of Lew Alcindor/Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s game throughout the years was the apex of the hook shot’s evolution. The previously mentioned, “Sky Hook”. He took the base model and added a new angle to his elbow, along with a higher release point, and the shot had been perfected. Much to the dismay of the many defenders over the years who tried to stop it.
What makes the Sky hook the best shot of all time? It’s unblockable when released at its highest point while using the proper angle of the elbow, and the proper turning radius of the lead shoulder. The defender must either have ESP and anticipate the hook coming, trying to beat the player using the “Sky Hook” to the spot, or try to block the shot from their placement behind the offensive player. The ESP move lets the offensive player see where the defender is going every single time, letting them react accordingly by spinning back the other way for two points. Going for the block from behind the offensive player would result in a foul every single time, because of the angle of the shoulder of the offensive player, along with the placement of the release of the basketball. You can’t block what you can’t reach.
The “Sky Hook” has a long looping timeline to the bucket for the ball. It is a very slow death for the defender. They can see what is happening in an almost frame-by-frame type of view. The shot can be used on either block and moving across the lane in either direction. Jabbar would go as far out as almost the elbow sometimes and used the baseline very effectively in terms of cutting off yet another angle from the defender or possible double team. Kareem would feel which way the defender’s weight was being applied in the post like any other offensive post player would, but then would go to the hook when ready. This type of shot can be repeated over and over again without the defense having any say whatsoever on what the result would be. Like most great players would tell you: “It wasn’t the defense. I just missed.”
It’s absolutely amazing that more players have not attempted to use the “Sky Hook” and make it a staple of their NBA offensive diet. It’s offensive. And not in a scoring buckets type of way. Any position on the court can use the “Sky Hook” even if they start from different vantage points on the court. Guards, forwards, and of course, centers. The shot will still end up at the correct placement for the defense not to have any chance of stopping it’s take off. Does it resemble uncle Jimmy and his YMCA game on the weekends? Uncle Jimmy is no dummy, even though he looks like one. Does the “Sky Hook” not look cool?
You know what looks cool? Scoring buckets whenever you want with the best type of shot of all time.