Friday, March 13th, 2009 at 10:00 am  |  79 responses

LeBron Wants His Beloved ‘Crab Dribble’ Back

by Marcel Mutoni

And the NBA might just grant their young King his wish.

It was recently revealed that the League is hard at work on revising exactly what a travel is, and might want the NCAA and FIBA to adopt similar guidelines.

Hilariously, LeBron may even get his own special chapter in the new rulebook. From the Plain Dealer:

In response to increased scrutiny in recent years, the NBA is examining rewriting its traveling rules as soon as next season. It may include allowing for two steps, not one as currently written, and possibly even a provision for LeBron James’ famous, or infamous, depending on your perspective, crab-dribble move.


The most focus has been on James’ jump-stop move, which he’s been perfecting since high school. Sometimes he travels and gets away with it, sometimes he executes it properly and still gets called for traveling.

“That would be good, I could get my move back,” James said of the potential rule changes. “They stole my move. I’ve gotten used to knowing that you have to land on two feet.”

Traveling is a hot-button topic for NBA fans, especially when watching players like James and Miami’s Dwyane Wade. Because of his speed and the length of his stride, James can often cover large distances and change possession without dribbling.

“Sometimes it is called right and sometimes it isn’t, but they’ll figure it out,” James said.


This will do wonders for the widely-held perception that the NBA will do anything to protect and coddle its biggest stars.

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  • ber

    Please don’t. Spare us all from having to see that move ever again.

  • Ritchie

    Why not just get rid of dribbling?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Mutoni’s anti-Bron bias is especially sharp today. No question Bron clowned himself in the way he defended this, but it’s the League’s fault for letting him (mostly) get away with it since his rookie year.
    Better question: What’s gained by the league making a serious crackdown on travel calls? Respect for the integrity of the officiating?
    *does spit-take all over computer monitor*
    Yeah, calling walks on superstars will TOTALLY assuage the doubts fans had post-Donaghy. It’s a f*cking product. Keep it entertaining. Thank you.
    Ryan Jones
    L. James Inc.

  • speedy

    We wouldn’t have that conversation if the league officials would call a straight line on travelling .
    The players then would have to adjust and everything would be fine .
    They stole his move ????
    Lebron is making fun of the game.

  • http://www.youtube.com/teamairyork blackice87

    i’ve always held the notion that you take two steps and then go up, am i missing something?

  • Ken

    That graphic is amazing. It’s like LeBron Zoidberg. And yeah, this is dumb. LBJ’s crab dribble is a travel, as is Wade’s spin move where he takes 3 steps. The game is better when everybody has to play by the same rules.

  • L33tSauce

    Ken when is the last time everyone in the NBA has played by the same rules? The NBA officials have plenty of double standards. Nobody talks about Ron Artest getting away with fouls. Why hate so much on Lebron and Wade and fail to notice its way more then just them.

  • chris74

    truth is loads of players do versions of the crab dribble…i saw quite a few 3-4 step moves by dwight howard v pistons the other night

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBQEmmgDl9I Boing Dynasty

    No Ken, the game is better when LBJ and Wade dunk all over people.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Yeah….what’s with this one step sh*t. Basketball allows two steps in all segments of the game….let’s not be stupid.

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    Do your research, Mutoni. The NBA is not changing the rules at all, they’re just making it coherent with the way basketball is played (and has been played for quite a while). According to the official rule book, taking two steps for a lay up is actually travelling. Of course, no one applies that rule and two steps are allowed everywhere (NBA, FIBA, NCAA, HS).

  • http://indianz.com R3Z

    With the erosion of the game of basketball, this is just another slide to the bottom disscusion.
    We need the no lay-up rule on this one. I mean why not just adjust the game to the rules of farmerball and be done with it. Then the NBA can start to regain some integrity it has lost during this deterioration of the game I love. Or just alienate the purist all together.

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    I hate when guys spin without dribbling though. That’s clearly a change of pivot foot.

  • Sebastian B. O. Bunionstow, esq.

    Hey, let’s get rid of the crabs.

  • k.o.

    that picture is jokes. mutoni did u doodle up the crab hands? nice touch.

  • Fred34

    Ever seen a game of handball? Those guys travel more than they dribble – dribbling is like an after thought. Funny as hell, looks like a team of “challenged” bball players. Have the NBA look at that tape for new rules.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Jake Appleman

    Whatever Jones said.

  • http://www.mynameinorange.blogspot.com Hisham

    i wish FIBA and the NBA would find some inspiration in each other while calling a travel. FIBA needs to loosen up on the calls, and the NBA needs to tighten up. catching a pass in stride like a football player and then take 4 steps and decide that you need to dribble the ball is unacceptable, NBA. But having it in triple threat, jab step and leave your pivot while starting your dribble should be a no call, FIBA.

  • Herfdawg

    please, please tell me they arent going to remove dribbling (which is what making it two steps would be). because NBA players can go from the three point line on a jump stop and two steps. this is just completely uneccesary and gives athletic players an even bigger advantage over intelligent players, slashers over shooters, etc.

    my point is they dont need to change the game.

  • Dave

    It’s a sport, there’s a rule, LeBron can’t follow the traveling rule and deserves to be called on it. If I can obey the traveling rule in pickup games, someone with more talent in his eyelashes than I have in my whole body, getting paid more per game than I make a year, getting coached an trained by smarter basketball minds that I’ll ever meet sure as hell can. Who are these assholes?

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    what happens if a player is athletic and ‘intelligent’? does he spontaneously combust? does intelligent mean slow footed?

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    People are dense. The NBA rule for travelling has been violated for as long as the NBA has existed! Doing a 1-2 layup is a travel according to the rule book. The NBA is just trying to get rid of this abberation.

  • Herfdawg

    @Z: my bad. most players who are known for intelligence are slow. because most players who are intelligent and athletic are called stars and they have advantages over everyone. when i say intelligent (and slow in this case), i mean players like, luke walton, mike dunleavy, mike bibby, etc. they would be screwed on defense and wouldn’t be as viable on offense.

  • H

    There was a time when the nba used to make new rules to restrict extraordinary athletes… now not so much.

  • Herfdawg

    if people are going 65 in a 55 zone on the highway, the transit authortiy isn’t going to change the speed limit to 65. there’s just no point. and to think that the refs will be calling it the same if the rule book changes is just stupid. they might not start being lenient for a few years, but if they make it two steps, you might as well invent the king crab dribble because by the end of the year lebron will be taking 3 steps. and he won’t be getting called.

  • http://hoops4life.com overtime

    this is just stupid

  • bill breedley

    people that think two extra steps to the basket is cool are retards. the crab dribble and wade’s bullcrap spin moves don’t belong in the league.

    call me old school but i like seeing pure moves to the hoop where only a max of one step after the dribble is allowed.

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    It’s not TWO EXTRA STEPS. It’s the lay up they teach you when you’re in the 4th grade that’s not allowed by the rule book right now. Dribble, dribble, right foot, left foot, shot IS NOT ALLOWED BY THE NBA RULE BOOK. Am I the onl one that understands why they’d want to change that?

  • http://www.kicksonfire.com Anton

    Z, the voice of reason.
    Ryan Jones for the win.

  • CHE

    Calm down everyone. They will never change this rule why is everyone freaking out and writing in big letters over this? Lebron has traveled since he got into the league. He is a great player but he has gotten away with murder all this time it’s good to see the league crack down more on how wild the game has gotten.

  • Roberto

    I got this from ESPN
    But the rule is also clear on the key point: A running player who picks up his dribble, or catches a pass, with a foot on the floor, gets one more step before he must shoot or pass.


    They did a whole series on it.

    I take it as after you collect the ball which is your 1st step, you are allowed one more. That would be a normal one-two step layup.

  • Herfdawg

    apparently. because it doesn’t need to be changed. because it’s been this way for what, 50 years? 60 years? longer? i don’t see why they would take the risk of changing rules for no reason.

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    What risk? Are you guys seriously saying that it is better to ignore a rule (what everybody has been doing for the last 50 years in the nba) than actually correct it. That’s just lazy. CHE, you do know that the guy that wants to correct this is the VP of Referee Operations? If anybody can change a rule, it’s him. / Imagine if FIFA rules were not allowing the ball to be playable after a missed PK during a game. Wouldn’t it be the right thing to do to correct the rule to reflect what’s actually going on on the field?

  • http://www.hoopmixtape.com Simon S.Y Lawy


  • juliusj14

    Go to nba.com. the rules already allow two steps.

    To start a dribble after establishing a pivot foot, the ball must be released from the player’s hand before his pivot foot leaves the floor or he has committed a traveling violation. A player who receives the ball while moving is allowed a two count rhythm but must release the ball prior to the third step touching the floor. When ending his dribble a player may use a two count rhythm in coming to a stop, passing or shooting. A player who fall s to the floor while holding the ball or while coming to a stop may not gain an advantage by rolling on the floor. A player who attempts a shot may not be the first to touch the ball if it fails to touch the backboard, rim or another player. If a player comes to a stop on the count of one when both feet are on the floor or touch the floor simultaneously, he may pivot using either foot as his pivot. If he alights with both feet he must release the ball before either foot touches the floor. If a player has one foot on the floor or lands with one foot first to the floor, he may only pivot with that foot. Once that foot is lifted from the floor to shoot or pass it may not return until the ball is released. If a player jumps off one foot on the count of one he may land with both feet simultaneously for count two. In this situation, the player may not pivot with either foot and if one or both feet leave the floor the ball must be released before either return to the floor. When a player gathers the ball he may not step consecutively with the same foot, as in a hopping motion.

  • doyouwantmore

    It’s all about the economy. The NBA is a corporation that needs to make money real, real bad right now and people are not coming to games. In the old days when the NBA was safe, secure and conservative the game reflected that because people would come anyway. These days they’re speeding it way up and the rule change is just to make it even more fast and flashy. What a coincidence that D’antoni is coaching in NY! I’m personally kind of ambivalent about it but I’m definitely against coddling superstars like Lebron.

  • max

    they are rewriting the rule, allowing 2 steps after the ball is picked up. the crab dribble involves taking 3 steps. it was clearly a travel, can i please never hear about it again………

  • Josh D

    The League shouldn’t change the rules to suit LeBron

  • giogolo

    d 1st step is when u put the ball down too at the same time right then 1 step after with ball in hand before the lay-up. if you u can take two steps after ur 1st step with the dribble that would be weird.

  • giogolo

    a drop step is 1 step with the a dribble then a huge hop and landing with both feet set together before making the final jump for the put-in.
    Sometimes that move feels like traveling to me.
    just sometimes..

  • giogolo

    But here’s the twist guys..
    cause if you analyze a spin move it’s actually a two step after a 1st step with a dribble..
    pivot or no pivot..and it actually been a legit move ever since i can remember.

    Think about it..you take your first dribble with your 1st step(lets say right foot) which is your pivot foot actually, and your primary set-up before you make your spin
    which leads to the 2nd step this time having made the turn or “spin” already with the ball in hand and then…
    you make Another step(a 3rd step)using your Pivot foot which is set together with both your feet for the final take-off.

    How’s this not traveling?? and yet this move is perfectly sane forever.
    Pls. Discuss.

  • giogolo

    And finally whats the deal with those shot fake jump shots then go for the drive which seems to be called for traveling a lot..??

    It almost has the same mechanics as the spin move i previously discussed..??
    What’s up with that..!!!???

  • Diogo

    Adopt the FIBA rule. It’s the right one. Two steps since holding the ball. That’s f*cking simple enough.

  • warr


  • Caleb

    “Yeah, calling walks on superstars will TOTALLY assuage the doubts fans had post-Donaghy. It’s a f*cking product.”

    Uh, it could at the very least start to help… a little *can* go a long way.

    And if its all about “product” and “entertainment” then lets just turn into a pro-wrestling style sideshow where there’s no real competition – just a big show.

  • donlaker

    lebron bench presses his shots, and complains about those air guitar fouls, let him have his 3 steps (oh i mean crab dribble). le bron your feet are not as big as your (oj simpson size dome) so stop traveling….. despite what e-boy/e girl says you will take your crab dribble to the knicks soon enough, and david $tern will love u even more bron is so gone………..
    @ warr iverson carries just like kobe does
    and they get away with it..

  • vonkers

    Why doesn’t LeBroom learn how to play basketball by the rules instead of crying about it? He already gets foul calls every time he misses a shot because of course if he misses he must have been fouled…give me a break, the refs give him everything, but he’s whining about not being allowed to travel? What a douche.

  • http://twentythreenine.blogspot.com Russ Bengtson

    What’s that? That’s…that’s…THAT’S PATRICK EWING’S MUSIC!

  • http://twentythreenine.blogspot.com Russ Bengtson

    *takes five staggering steps across lane to shoot awkward jump hook*

  • http://indianz.com R3Z

    that was always a carry, A.I’s crossover. MJ palmed the ball doing this, to gain mad advantage over his defender.

  • Teddy-the-Bear


  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Also, officials are horrible at calling charges/blocks, its way tot ambiguous.
    And continuation shooting fouls? The superstars get hit like 10 seconds before they put up the shot and they will call continuation. But when an average player goes up and has a legitimate continuation call, the ref calls says its on the floor.

  • Dre

    It has always been legal to take 2 steps after you last dribble or in stride when receiving a pass.

  • jay

    yea sure….& while we’re at it, we should hand it to him on a silver platter too. you know…cause he’s a king and all.

  • http://www.basketballjerseyworld.com NBA-JERSEY-KING

    bring it back! for the good of the game… otherwise you might as well get rid of dribbling and make it netball

  • http://www.another48minutes.blogspot.com Gerard Himself

    there was a time that when an NBA player was that good, rules were changed to take some of his greatness away. (no dunking rule in college), goaltending was inserted, etc.

  • http://www.another48minutes.blogspot.com Gerard Himself

    but if a player is really good nowadays, they do everything to make his life easier!

  • ab_40

    get the fiba rules for traveling, get teh no charge zone in europe. make 1 three point line for everywhere europe, nba and ncaa men. Destroy the defensive three secconds rule. Let players get the ball of the rim so no more offensive and defensive interfierance. And make the charge a charge again… so not standing still waiting for a player to hit you and jump backwards… the charges are at an all time high. I always defended the game for having not as many actors as in football but the last few seasons have ruined it for me. once or twice okay but like mr varejo from cleveland that’s annoying.

    and the no dunking rule in college was made by players who were less athletic and had rich dadies who found it unfair that the black players and a few whites could dunk. that was the biggest trafesty in the game of basketball.

  • OneStep

    It’s been a long time since the NBA was keen on fundamentals. It’s an incredibly simple game with very few fundamental rules made complicated by those pesky humans. You get two steps that’s it. How many times have we seen guys catch the ball on the run at the three-point line take three or more steps and finish with the all-important dunk? The NBA has a well established reputation for style over substance. The crazy thing is, it would still be a spectacular product if players were forced to abide by the laws of the game. Would DWade and Lebron be less great if they had their third step removed? No, of course not. Just don’t get me started on KG’s ridiculous post moves. Has he never heard of establishing a pivot foot? It drives me mad how many times he gets away with it. Playing D in the post is all about focusing on what the guys pivot foot is. If he’s allowed to ignore that how can you play effectively against a 7 feet tall freak like KG? As I’ve said already, the league will still be great even with the laws of the game being enforced. Get it sorted.

  • vonkers

    the “crab dribble” isn’t even what it’s called…LeBroom made that up! WHat a tool. I hate him so much. Good player, but when they change the rules to make you better, that’s rediculous. I have no respect for him or his game.

  • ab_40

    and he can still do the “cra(p)b dribble” without traveling otherwise it’s cheating cuz you can push your body into the other guy and then go over… that’s good ol on the street court cheating and saying you didn’t travle after you dunked in some poor guys face. I’m speeking out of expierience haha

  • jose

    Honestly i thought everyone went with the 2 steps rule. why give the nba guyz one.(tho it aint called that much)

  • levijacobson

    lebrons awesome but EXCUSES
    i call mine the spider dribble

  • Pedestrian Nightmare

    why the f would fiba have to change their “strickt” rules of travelling? because the refs whistle every time players don’t respect them? (the rules, not the refs:)

  • RedRum

    yeap, change that rule and see how many times NBA stars get called for travelling in FIBA competitions…

  • Pedestrian Nightmare

    …which follow the rules as should the NBA

  • BostonBaller

    Wow!! I’ve played ball on many levels and TWO (2) steps were a layup, you catch the ball on the go and you get 2 steps. Where are we getting ONE (1) step from? Seriously I’m just asking.

  • BostonBaller

    Section XIV-Traveling
    a. A player who receives the ball while standing still may pivot, using either foot as the pivot foot.
    b. A player who receives the ball while he is progressing or upon completion of a dribble, may use a two-count rhythm in coming to a stop, passing or shooting the ball.
    The first count occurs:
    (1) As he receives the ball, if either foot is touching the floor at the time he receives it.
    (2) As the foot touches the floor, or as both feet touch the floor simultane- ously after he receives the ball, if both feet are off the floor when he receives it.
    The second occurs:
    (1) After the count of one when either foot touches the floor, or both feet touch the floor simultaneously.
    c. A player who comes to a stop on the count of one may pivot, using either foot as the pivot foot.
    d. A player who comes to a stop on the count of two, with one foot in advance of the other, may pivot using only the rear foot as the pivot foot.
    e. A player who comes to a stop on the count of two, with neither foot in advance of the other, may use either foot as the pivot foot.
    f. In starting a dribble after (1) receiving the ball while standing still, or (2) coming to a legal stop, the ball must be out of the player’s hand before the pivot foot is raised off the floor.
    g. If a player, with the ball in his possession, raises his pivot foot off the floor, he must pass or shoot before his pivot foot returns to the floor. If he drops the ball while in the air, he may not be the first to touch the ball.
    h. A player who falls to the floor while holding the ball, or while coming to a stop, may not gain an advantage by sliding.
    i. A player who attempts a field goal may not be the first to touch the ball if it fails to touch the backboard, basket ring or another player.
    PENALTY: Loss of ball. The ball is awarded to the opposing team at the sideline, nearest spot of the violation but no nearer the baseline than the foul line extended.

  • BostonBaller

    I didn’t read it I just copied and pasted. lol

  • chintao

    Gold Bond Medicated Ointment. I was always told 1 and 1/2 steps. Regardless, codifying this kind of thing should make it impossible for the U.S. to win at any properly officiated international event.

  • Jackie Moon

    Lebron can “change possession” without dribbling? That would be magical to go from offense to defense without dribbling. Or, most would just call that a “turnover”. I think they meant “change direction without dribbling”.

  • http://nextgg.com DMC14

    FIBA 1.5 steps after dribble.

    All through Nineties i swear NBA was 2 or 2.5 steps after dribble so that they could do the double leg jump for dunks etc. and i’m sure the US always used to get called for travelling in international games.

    But the nba refs let certain players travel while others cant.

  • http://nextgg.com DMC14

    oh yeah and when players dribble the ball with there hands going underneath as in craddleing the ball it is either a double dribble or travel.

  • CHE

    I agree iversons crossover should be reinstated. He was punished for having long arms. He never carried or palmed the ball. They banned his crossover. I think Jordan told the league if you don’t ban that crossover I will retire………again. So they had to get rid of it..lol

  • http://www.liveddb.com DDB

    Just keep ruining the game. Why stop now? Why have any rules?


    no LeBroom fans on this thread…they know he’s a fake too…

  • http://aol J

    Tons of players take travel on the way to the bucket its just that EVERYBODYS eyes are on LeBron and D-wade and when they mess up everybody flips so shut up haters


    No, LeBroom is just being a little girl about it…”whaaaaa, they took away MY move (which he didn’t even invent), everybody hates me eventhough I get ever single call” Seriously, if he misses a shot, they call a foul, because of course if he misses he MUST have been fouled, it’s not like he’s not a very good shooter or anything…LeBroom is a fake, D-Wade and Kobe are the real deal son.

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