Thursday, December 10th, 2009 at 10:59 am  |  51 responses

Decade’s Best: Crossover

Play your heart out, and casualties happen.

by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoniAllen Iverson & Michael Redd

Allen Iverson certainly didn’t invent the crossover dribble move. Long before he donned a Sixers uniform, guys had been breaking ankles with this devastating maneuver for years. Tim Hardaway, Tiny Archibald, Isiah Thomas, Pistol Pete … the list goes on and on.

It’s just that A.I. took it to a level never before seen. He turned it into a weapon as feared and revered as Kareem’s skyhook, Michael’s fadeaway, Magic’s no-look pass, Shaq’s power dunk, and Hakeem’s Dream Shake.

The funny thing about Allen Iverson, though, is that his most legendary crossover — the move that ensured him an irremovable spot in NBA lore — happened during his rookie season. It was more than a decade ago; hell, it wasn’t even in this century.

The Answer stared Michael Jordan down, and loudly announced his arrival on MJ’s turf.

Much like his most famous victim, Michael, A.I. had to change up his game as he got older. Iverson began to rely more and more on his pull up jumpers to get his points. He no longer looked to embarrass people each time down the floor.

A generation of new jacks eventually picked up the torch from Allen, and turned plenty of defenders’ legs into mince meat: Jamal Crawford, Steve Francis, Jason Williams, Dwyane Wade, and a host of others. As it turned out, however, none of them were able to recreate the magic of A.I.

As his career began to wind down, he would become less and less known for the crossover than for battles with coaches and front office types. But when the moment called for it, Allen Iverson would not hesitate to remind everyone who the best ankle-breaker in the League (this entire decade, and maybe ever) was. Sorry, Antonio:


For more Decade Awards, check out the archive.

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  • Jas

    Wrong decade. He had to alter his crossover after his rookie year, and he stopped using it a couple of years later completely.

  • Jas

    In the clip above he does a crossover, but not THE crossover that helped make him famous.

  • Jas

    In the clip above he does A crossover, but not THE crossover that he became famous for.

  • oinestep

    I remember when I used to do his crossover on the playgrounds it was so deadly and it got me alot of highlights in the streets, to bad it was a palming violation in the NBA.

  • Hussman25

    Oh how the tables have turned for AI tho… Rodney Stuckey got AI reeeeaaaallll good last night in Philly; I never seen AI get crossed so bad! In hoops I guess you reap what u sew huh?? SMH… He’s still the king tho…

  • tavoris

    @hussman-that one looked a lot more than a cross. Kinda the same way Chauncey bodied him up in the Denver game.

  • http://slamonline.com/ niQ

    I wish I could watch whatever video was posted but everything’s blocked at work =(.
    Anyways, did you guys actually see the game? or the replays? The cross by Rodney was more like a push. Not a clean crossover anyways.

  • http://theghostofroyhobbs.blogspot.com Mo Charlo

    Still dirty.

  • ctkennedy

    iverson gets the credit but he havent caught bodies in years deron williams gets them on the regular iverson might not be top five

  • http://slamonline.com Matt Lawyue

    Unlike A.I., Crawford would cross somebody up and brick the shot most of the time.

  • http://www.pablasso.com pablasso

    @Jas: As they already said, that crossover happened in the last decade, this one is not so long ago

  • http://slamonline.com GotHandles?

    he made him fall…twice. ouch

  • fatjeansince88

    Iverson got knocked down by Stuckey’s arm, not his crossover.

  • http://fashionsensei.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/jackie-moon.jpg Jackie Moon

    The killer crossover, AKA the discontinued dribble and change of direction. Just make the ball change direction mid-air by cupping it in your palm, and you will be breaking ankles in no time!

  • LeoneL

    But what about Tim Hardaway? T_T

  • http://www.slamonline.com barnabusb

    Stuckey got him for sure:


    20 second mark.

  • LeoneL

    @Jackie Moon, a killer crossover need not be done by a person palming the ball. A quick dribble and a head fake might and can do the trick along with great footwork.Or so I think…

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Jackie Moon

    Check the clip.

    No palming on that crossover. Just a hard right to left, with a little left to right at the end to finish up.

    Now, AI’s most famous crossover, the one he used on MJ and countless others might have use a little palming, but no more than Jordan used when he liked to right to let on a fast break. Most of the time Iverson’s hand was never underneath the ball, just on the side of it.

    Just so you know.

  • LeoneL

    Was Antonio mad that there’s no call on that play?

  • http://www.twitter.com/Th3_R3al_Chris Th3_R3al_Chris

    I think I’d give this one to J-Will. His handles are probably the best the L’s ever seen and his assist-to-turnover ratio went waaaaay down as he got older.

  • Jrooks

    The move is called the stuke pushoff on ai

  • http://www.sixers.com 360vue

    is ctkennedy serious? AIs crossover RBK advert was supoibe! cant guess how many hours i spent trying to replicate that mad ish

  • tavoris

    @Th3_R3al_Chris J Will does have a crazy handle in the “seems slow-but it’s not” kinda way. His ankle-breaking resume is still kinda short tho.

    Derrick Rose’s “going at full speed-but changing direction to blow past you” is a beautiful thing too.

    My money is on Hardaway’s crossover(all-time)-even though he stopped using it by the time he got to Miami.

    The last decade is AI tho-CLEARLY….kats were on skates as soon as he touched the ball.

  • Kadavour

    Sorry guys, but I don’t think anyone’s crossover was deadlier than Steve Francis’. A.I. popularized it as somewhat of the crossover dribble renaissance man, taking the torch from Tim Hardaway, but Stevie perfected that move. The best crossovers today belong to either Deron Williams or Jamal Crawford.

  • BeeBopLIVE

    I think deron williams has it right now 4 best modern day crossover everyone does it 2 get space deron williams does his with bad intentions or 2 force the defense 2 change up

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

    Richard Jefferson should have won this.

  • ab_40

    C Webb sighting

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    Stuckey dropped Iverson last night! Along with 2 other sixers. But my favorite is Marbury on Yao.

  • tmw554

    no love for big z?

  • Boogie

    Em….. i understand A.I is notorious for palming. But he does it less than haters like to think. This video is just a nice clean cross.
    One step, one dribble to fake the drive
    he pushes it back through his legs like a stepback,
    hesitates and then leaves his man.
    A.I simply understand how to move his defenders feet which is the key to his cross not the palming. Though it does help when he’s going quick on more side to side dribbles. I’m just mad ppl are acting ignorant with VIDEO EVIDENCE in front of them.

  • str8 from samoa

    haha i still break ankles till this day!!! thanks AI.

  • Boogie

    oh wow now i read on and see theres several others adressing the hater formerly known as jackiemoon. my bad.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Pardeep

    Best crossover ever hands down.

  • ThaWindy

    AI did have one of the best crossovers ever. to bad the league hated on him. I can’t help but remeber how AI use to say he didn’t work out to stay in shape. I bet he wish he could go back NOW!

  • http://nicekicks.com MeloMan2.0

    when dwill has the ball, defenders back up Emediatly. i definetly think he has the nastiest now… hom or Crawford…. and Ai got messed by billups and stuckey this week, whos next?

  • http://slamonline.com Dave

    Thanks to Jas for coming all this way from his home dimension! Big hand for Jas everybody!

  • http://slamonline.com Dave

    Great photo, by the way, Marcel.

  • Dyce

    Yall, can’t be serious….Jason Williams? Stephon Marbury handle was way better than his…And I used the AI crossover before AI, I stole it from randolph childress!


  • RedRum

    How old are you Mutoni? How can you neglect Tim Hardaway’s cross-over???

  • RedRum

    ok, he is not actually that much in the decade that much, but still is the best cross over the NBA has seen

  • dmonz

    Tim hardaway’s crossover was quicker, it was like a video game crossover.. it may be best ever..
    But for this decade no one does better than AI, even his regulr x’overs are sick.. he yoyos the ball like it has strings, it’s almost impossible to steal the rock from him while dribbling.. hey he not only has the best x’over, AI’S THE BEST DRBBLER THIS DECADE AS WELL

  • http://www.slamonline.com Pardeep

    @ThaWindy: When did AI say he never worked out. I know he didn’t train like other greats but I know he trained hard trust me every player trains. AI is lying if he said he never trained. You know how quick dude was. Even in 2006 he was one of the best athletes in the world. Yeah he is a freak of nature but no matter what it takes hard work to do everything he has done. But than again: Practice?

  • MikeC.

    Nobody even asked me to demo my crossover for this article. How do you know I don’t have the best crossover of the decade?
    When I say ‘me’, I might be talking about myself, or God Shammgod Wells. Either/or.

  • Seven Duece

    Sorry I’m with Jackiemoon, most of the crosses AI did were of the palming variety. Not to say it wasn’t nice, but it wasn’t like Timmy (DEATH TO GAYS) Hardaway. Closest to AI (style wise) is Bassy Telfair, flagrant palming hahaha

  • http://dsfjkl.com Jukai

    AI never claimed he invented that crossover. It’s common knowledge he took it from a teammate at Georgetown. Man, there are haters, and then there are HATERS.

  • http://dsfjkl.com Jukai

    Seven Duece, was that ‘death to gays’ comment suppose to be funny? I mean, what the f*ck is that about?

  • http://hoopistani.blogspot.com The Hoopistani

    my favourite crossover: stephon marbury on yao… just amare’s face post yao’s fall was worth all of it.

  • ilovekemp

    I bet you all love Kemps crossover.

  • Darren

    jwill on gary the glove payton in his prime he caught him something serious

  • Kevi

    @jukai give tim hardaway a little search and youll see what deuce meant when he said ‘death to gays’

  • dwightschrute

    Iverson hardly ever palmed the ball with his crossover because he holds it on the side of his hand. IMO all the NBA did was help ban an amazingly cool looking move from one of their biggest superstars of the decade.

    BTW anyone have a video clip of the picture above where Iverson is blowing past a falling Redd? Is it just a bad flop by Redd or did Iverson really break him down?