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LeBron James is working on a skyhook? Old-school cool.

Oct 10, 2012, 4:45 PM EST

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It is the most iconic signature shot in the history of the NBA — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar would get the ball on the low right block, rock toward the middle to make the defender shift, then roll back to baseline with his left shoulder creating space while his right hand took the ball ridiculously high for the “skyhook.”

It was indefensible.

LeBron James is apparently working on it. From the Heat Index at ESPN.

A year ago, LeBron James adopted elements of Hakeem Olajuwon’s Dream Shake. This time around, the Miami Heat star forward is implementing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s patented skyhook….

James vows to add the traditional hook shot to his game, and he could test it out when the Heat play a pair of exhibition games this week in China against the Los Angeles Clippers. (Heat assistant coach Bob) McAdoo proudly acknowledges that James is continuing to build a foundation of post moves that took root two summers ago in Houston with (Hakeem) Olajuwon.

James’ hook, if he breaks it out that often (my guess is LeBron will fall back on power moves mostly when he posts up) will not look like Kareem’s for reasons even James can’t match — Kareem had an insanely high release point on his skyhook that was paired with a feathery soft touch. There’s a reason he’s scored more points than anyone in NBA history.

But some things can be the same. What made the skyhook work for KAJ was that if you overplayed it he had a quick spin to the middle and he could finish at the rim with either hand, and his footwork was fantastic. The skyhook was the signature, but it wasn’t the only post move you had to stop. It is the same with LeBron, who has some of Olajuwon’s Dream Shake (which was really a series of moves and counters). There isn’t just one move, there is a variety. You can’t stop LeBron one-on-one on the block because of it and once the double comes he can pass out to open shooters.

But man, I would really love to see LeBron break out an old-school sweeping hook shot. I love the throwback moves.

  1. eugenesaxe - Oct 10, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    I don’t see why more players today don’t use the skyhook. It’s graceful, classy, and highly effective once perfected.

  2. thomaskouns - Oct 10, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    Lebrron is the most talented player in the league but sometimes I wonder how much of what I hear of him ‘developing’ new aspects of his game every off-season is mostly the typical player spin and hype.

    Most of his skill set was pretty much the same even last year.

    If he doesn’t truly work on his game his window for Championships is going to close very quickly and Oklahoma will take a lot of the titles he should have had had he actually trully developed other parts of his game rather than relying on his ‘enormous’ talent.

    • eventhorizon04 - Oct 10, 2012 at 8:54 PM

      “If he doesn’t truly work on his game his window for Championships is going to close very quickly and Oklahoma will take a lot of the titles he should have had had he actually trully developed other parts of his game rather than relying on his ‘enormous’ talent.”

      Most people are expecting the Lakers to own the West for the next 2 years (at least), so it’s highly unlikely OKC will make the Finals, much less “take the titles [LeBron] should have had,” in the next couple of years. After that, who knows – maybe another team develops in the West and overtakes OKC and the Kobe-less Lakers.

      All the talk of OKC’s window being a decade was way premature.

    • passerby23 - Oct 12, 2012 at 4:41 PM

      @thomaskouns

      Lebron doesn’t need to “develop” more aspects to his game, he just needs to get better at what he’s weak in, i.e. jump shooting and free throw shooting (not that he’s bad, but could be better). There isn’t much else he needs to work on. He doesn’t need a sky hook, he already has a dominant power game in the post that no one can stop.

      @eventhorizon04

      I don’t think “most people” is an accurate statement about LA owning the West for the next 2 years. A lot of people think OKC is just as good or better, or at worst a competitive threat to the Lakers.

      Injuries can be a huge factor and, let’s face it, the Lakers have some questionable health issues they’ll have to be wary of. My pick to win it this year is the Lakers, but it’s not etched in stone that they have it locked up by any means.

  3. jebdamone - Oct 10, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    i mean absolutely no offense by this because lebron is the best player in the world, but why doesn’t he work on developing a knock-down consistent jump shot first?

    • guyaneserj - Oct 11, 2012 at 7:19 AM

      I’m a HUGE Miami & LBJ Fan, and I actually agree, if he added that knock-down CONSISTENT J to his arsenal, he would TRULY be unstoppable.

      • reesesteel23 - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:11 AM

        The jumpshot will come naturally. He wont be able to abuse people physically forever. Why not work on everything else? I would rather see him work on all parts of his game

      • guyaneserj - Oct 12, 2012 at 6:42 AM

        But that’s my exact point reesesteel23, he won’t be able o abuse people physically forever and at this moment in time, he last very little weakness, a consistent J is one of them, so why not work on that weakness now? If not work on that, what do u suggest?

      • passerby23 - Oct 12, 2012 at 4:45 PM

        @reesesteel23

        Jump shooting does NOT come naturally, that’s something you have to spend many hours working on. Granted, there are “pure” shooters who are more adept than others with some natural ability, but even they have to work very hard.

        As Lebron gets older in his career, he’s going to have to develop that outside shot and mid-range post-game the way Kobe has and Jordan did. He won’t be able to bull his way to the basket forever. Forget the sky hook and perfect a mid-range jump shot.

  4. e39er - Oct 10, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    He’s still raw in terms of post moves, it’s either post kick out for shooters or post and drive to the basket using his athleticism…he needs to work on a consistent mid range shot before doing skyhooks

  5. lakerluver - Oct 10, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    From Power Memorial High School to UCLA to retirement from the LAKERS, K.A.J. is the greatest basketball player ever. If he were in h.s. today the media spotlight would dwarf anything we’ve ever seen. Including the circus that surrounded LeBron’s high school career.

  6. mistercharitystripe34 - Oct 10, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    It only took him eight years to finally realize he had to expand his offensive game. Better late than never I guess.

    • cantonbound13 - Oct 11, 2012 at 6:50 AM

      That’s because he’s surrounded by a$$ kissers like Kurt that only tell him how great he is, even though he hasn’t accomplished anything.

      • guyaneserj - Oct 11, 2012 at 7:28 AM

        Hasn’t accomplished ANYTHING? LMAO.. Let me help you a lil here.. since ur confused:
        One of eight players in NBA history to win 3 NBA Most Valuable Player Awards.
        One of eight players in NBA history to score 2,000 points seven consecutive seasons..
        Includes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, Alex English, Karl Malone, Oscar Robertson, Dominique Wilkins.
        One of four players in NBA history to average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists in their rookie season.
        Includes Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan, Tyreke Evans.
        One of five players in NBA history to average over 25 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists in a season (achieved this five times).
        Includes Oscar Robertson (achieved this six times), John Havlicek (achieved this twice), Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan.
        One of three players in NBA history to average at least 30 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists in a season.
        Includes Oscar Robertson (achieved this five times) and Michael Jordan.
        One of four players in NBA history to average at least 31 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists in a season.
        Includes Oscar Robertson (achieved this twice), Jerry West, and Michael Jordan.
        One of two players in NBA history to average at least 27 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists for six consecutive seasons.
        Behind Oscar Robertson, who achieved this eight consecutive times.
        One of two players in NBA history to post at least 2000 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists in a season for at least six seasons.
        Behind Oscar Robertson, who achieved this six times in his career.
        One of four players in NBA history to average at least 25 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists for their career.
        Includes Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, and Michael Jordan.
        Only player in NBA history to average at least 26 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists for their career.
        Only player in NBA history to post at least 2000 points, 500 rebounds, 500 assists and 100 steals in four straight seasons.
        One of three players in NBA history to average at least 30 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists in a postseason series.
        Includes Oscar Robertson and Larry Bird.
        One of three players in NBA history to record a triple-double in their playoff debut.
        Includes Johnny McCarthy and Magic Johnson.
        One of five players in NBA history to record a triple-double in finals clinching game.
        Includes Magic Johnson (twice, 1982 and 1985), Larry Bird (1986), James Worthy (1988), and Tim Duncan (2003).
        One of two players in NBA history to win the NBA Player of the Month Award four times for two consecutive seasons.
        Tied with Kevin Garnett, who achieved the same in the 2003-04 NBA Season.
        One of four players in NBA history to lead their team in all five major statistical categories (total points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals) in a season (2008–09 season).[4]
        Includes Dave Cowens (1977–78), Scottie Pippen (1994–95) and Kevin Garnett (2002–03).
        1st player in NBA History to score at least 40 points in the first road playoff game with 41 points at the Washington Wizards on April 28, 2006.
        1st forward in NBA history to average more than 8.0 assists per game (2009–2010).
        2nd place all-time for consecutive 20-point games to start a playoff career with 19.
        Behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 27 consecutive games
        Most consecutive points scored for a team in a playoff game with 25 straight points at the Detroit Pistons on May 31, 2007.
        One of two players in NBA history to win Regular Season MVP, Finals MVP, an NBA Championship and an Olympic Gold Medal in the same year.
        Includes Michael Jordan (1992).

      • zeedoubleyou - Oct 11, 2012 at 12:47 PM

        Kiss the ring, troll.

      • cantonbound13 - Oct 20, 2012 at 12:22 AM

        Where are they putting the asterisk on the ring?

  7. anarchopurplism - Oct 10, 2012 at 8:35 PM

    What’s next…..the double underhanded free throw? Sweet.

  8. butterfacesareok - Oct 10, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    Who cares about this bum, cheated his way to a ring, no respect

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - Oct 10, 2012 at 10:16 PM

      Referring to how John Wooden paid his players? Allegedly

  9. fredgordon112233 - Oct 11, 2012 at 2:38 AM

    indefensible????? I don’t think so

  10. cantonbound13 - Oct 11, 2012 at 6:47 AM

    Shouldn’t he work on a jump shot first?

    • reesesteel23 - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:13 AM

      No

  11. blueintown - Oct 11, 2012 at 8:53 AM

    I love the armchair trainers on here who suggest that LeBron would be unstoppable if only he could shoot, as if he hasn’t been the most unstoppable force in the game for the better part of a decade.

    • passerby23 - Oct 12, 2012 at 4:49 PM

      Well, it did kinda cost him a championship two years ago. Dallas packed the paint the forced Lebron to shoot and it worked. And I think when people say “unstoppable”, they really mean even more dominant.

      In Game 1 of the NBA Finals last year, Lebron forced the issue and tried to bully his way into the paint in the 4th quarter instead of taking and making the available play, which was a jump shot. they lost. I thought that’s how the series would go. Miami was able to win because they were able to get out and run and shot insanely well from 3. As good as Lebron is, there is still that weakness in his game that could cost him and his team in crucial moments if you can’t stick those jump shots when they need to be taken and made.

  12. omniusprime - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    Who cares if this deadbeat works on the sky hook, and if he does use it it will only be a baby sky hook. When Dwight Howard starts working on a sky hook now that will be totally awesome. Dwight just happens to be in the one place where he can get instructions from the master of the sky hook, Kareem Abdul Jabbar. I sure hope Dwight is smart enough to give the sky hook a try as that would be an unstoppable shot just like Jabbar’s.

    • guyaneserj - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:29 AM

      What makes LBJ a deadbeat?

      • zeedoubleyou - Oct 11, 2012 at 12:50 PM

        Knocking up one of his team’s cheerleaders, wait, who was that again?

  13. thetooloftools - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    Shouldn’t LeBron be working on his parenting skills instead of a sky hook?

  14. money2long - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    if the skyhook is the most iconic signature shot in the history of the NBA, the MJ fadeaway would have to be a close 2nd.

  15. progress2011 - Oct 11, 2012 at 8:49 PM

    Lets evaluate:

    1. The guy can DOMINATE 4 positions on the floor PG thru PF AND even compete with some of the smaller centers in the league.

    2. He could easily be a starting All Star at ANY of the 4 positions he currently plays AND Dominates the opponents players at that respective position.

    3. Three MVP’s

    4. This year he LED his Heat team and LED the Olympic team, both to championships. Because of his versatility to play any position on the floor well, he was the MVP of the teams.

    5. This year alone, he won the NBA MVP, Finals MVP, NBA Championship and an Olympic Gold Medal. The only guy to do that since M.J.

    AND

    You clueless clowns, want the man to do something else. You uneducated, clueless, backwoods, neanderthals would not know how to evaluate talent, if I performed the brain transplant from your caveman head myself !

    • passerby23 - Oct 12, 2012 at 4:55 PM

      No one is taking those attributes and accolades away from Lebron; however, as he enters the second phase of his career, he’s not going to be able to do all of the same things he did in the first half of his career. You have to adapt and/or expand your game and that’s going to include making jump shots consistently, especially as you lose the explosiveness and agility you once used to get by and jump over guys. That’s not a knock against the most dominant player in the game, it’s just a reality. Jordan had to do the same and that’s WHY he’s the greatest of all-time, because he he wanted and needed to do more.

  16. mrgeek100 - Oct 12, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    Makes absolutely no sense for him to work on a jump shot when he’s surrounded by shooters he’s doing what he needs to do to help his team developing a post game WELL DONE LBJ!!!!

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