There is something fascinating about watching a player get humiliated by a crossover dribble. It is a shifty and explosive move used to create space from a defender, and throughout the years we have come across players who completely mastered the move and took it to another level. Allen Iverson, Jamal Crawford, and Kyrie Irving are just a few who became favorites due to their ballhandling.
While dunks will always be at the forefront of basketball entertainment, the crossover has been one of the most fun and effective moves used in basketball. Many popular players have been on the opposite end of a wicked ankle-breaker, and that is what makes the move so appealing to fans. In the social media era, the move is perfectly captured in a Vine, with each player only one bad judgment call away from forever being on a timeless six-second loop in the twitter atmosphere. With that, check out some of the most iconic ankle-breakers in NBA history.
• MORE NBA: Curry, Irving among SI.com Top 100 players
Iverson crosses up Jordan—twice
When people talk about crossovers the first name that comes to mind is Allen Iverson. Iverson transcended the move and became its poster child in the mid-to-late '90s. It is has been 18 years since Iverson unleashed perhaps the most iconic ankle-breaker of all-time on Michael Jordan. When MJ is on a list he is usually on the opposite end of things, but on March 12, 1996, the game of basketball shifted into a new era.
For one, it is every kids dream to go against their role models, and Iverson dreamed about facing Jordan at the top of the key since he was young. As he told the New York Times,“I used to tell my friends when I get on that stage, I’m going to try my move on the best. And I will never forget the play. Never forget coming off the screen and him switching and Phil Jackson hollering telling him to switch out on me. Then I gave him a first little one, then I seen that he was biting on it and then I hit him with the second one and made the shot. But the craziest thing about it, is that I hit him with my best move and he still almost blocked it. That just lets you know how great of a defensive player he was."
Irving dazzles against Knight
Brandon Knight had a rough two month time in February and March of 2013. Before getting dunked on by DeAndre Jordan really, Kyrie Irving crossed him up during the Rising Stars Challenge on a series of dribbling moves. Chris Webber’s analysis during and after the move is also worth noting. The Irving and Knight battle had been brewing since their prep days when they was battling for the No. 1 point guard spot in the class of 2010 high school basketball recruiting class. After this display it was pretty easy to acknowledge who had won the battle. Irving has become the face of elite ballhandlers in the NBA, and has a wide collection of other moves that could be on this list.
Iverson makes Daniels fall—twice
Iverson’s double crossover on former NBA point guard Antonio Daniels came during the peak of his ankle-breaking career. Making a guy fall on a crossover is hard enough, but to do it twice in one play is sensational. This instantly became one of the greatest crossovers in history and a highlight that will be shown on Iverson montages forever.
Stoudamire breaks Harper’s ankles
You have to pause the video after the ankle-breaker to really appreciate this crossover. Harper is barely in the frame after he falls and the stare down and shot just make everything much more satisfying.
Ming in no man's land
• MORE NBA: Numbers place Nash among best PGs
There is no way Yao Ming should have been guarding Stephon Marbury at the top of the key on an island by himself. With Yao being a rookie and transitioning to American basketball, he never really experienced a killer crossover. The move wasn’t all that but Marbury shifted him just enough for him to tumble and cause a riot on the Suns bench. It is amazing to see how things worked out in the long run, as Marbury has gone on to have a very successful post-NBA career in China.
Williams blows by Payton
This move was just disgusting. Even “The Glove,” who is perhaps is the greatest defensive point guard of all-time and a well-known trash talker, had to look back and smile. One other thing to watch: peep the failed trip attempt as Jayson Williams blows by him. Williams, better known as “White Chocolate” during his time in the league, became an instant favorite due to a flashy game that made him look like the second coming of Pistol Pete.
Iverson steps over Lue
Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals is one of the greatest title games in NBA history. The 76ers came in with no chance against the Shaq and Kobe Lakers, but Iverson took it upon himself to lead the Sixers to a surprising victory on the road. Fresh off his MVP season, Iverson put up a stat line of 48 points, five rebounds, six assists, and five steals in 52 total minutes. Iverson and Tyronn Lue will forever be linked due to what happened toward the end of the game. After catching Lue on an isolation on the wing, Iverson dropped him with a step-back crossover in overtime and hit the jumper. It led to one of the most iconic Iverson moments. With Lue still on the floor after the move, Iverson famously stepped over him right in front of the Laker bench. The Sixers lost the next four games but Iverson became an icon after showing the world that no one could guard him.
Hardaway's UTEP 2-Step on Childs
This might not be a single highlight, but Hardaway’s ‘UTEP 2-Step’ crossover was as vicious as any one in the league. Iverson’s crossover will go down as the most notable, but Hardaway might have been the hardest one to pull off. Full-speed in transition between the legs then crossing back, the move was unstoppable.
Wade forces Snow to take tumble
During his final NBA season in 2008, Eric Snow somehow got tasked with the job of guarding Dwyane Wade and was on the wrong end of a nasty crossover. To this day, Snow believes Wade pushed off and forced him to fall clumsily. The video was replayed over and over when Snow was a studio analyst for NBATV, and it is funny to watch him describe why it was a push off.
Curry surprises Paul on baseline
• MORE NBA: Curry Two supports Warriors guard's game
In a few years looking through the highlight tapes of Stephen Curry’s MVP season, this exact play will probably be shown the most. Curry caught CP3 multiple times during the season, and when the MVP was up for grabs between him and Harden, this move probably put Curry over the top.
Michael Jordan sinks game 6 finals Bryon Russell
This would have been the perfect storybook ending had MJ never returned to play for the Wizards. Everyone knows about the push off, but Jordan pulled it off gracefully. The still frame shot of Russell trying to recover and MJ centered on the game-winner is a masterpiece.
Also because what is an ankle-breaker list without Jamal Crawford
Who else should have made the list? Let us know what we missed.