Monday, May 30th, 2011 at 9:00 am  |  81 responses

LeBron: Dirk’s Fadeaway 2nd Most Unstoppable Shot Ever

by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

As the NBA Finals draw ever closer, it’s normal for everyone to start looking at historical angles, and where players’ legacies stand.

LeBron James — who already dealt with his own controversial brush with NBA history last week — says Dirk Nowitzki has one of the most unguardable offensive repertoires that the League has ever seen.

According to LBJ, only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s sky hook ranks ahead of Dirk’s insane one-legged fallaway jumper, in terms of difficulty to stop.

From the Sun-Sentinel:

“He is going to make shots. You have to try and make him work on every catch and go from there,” Heat forward LeBron James said. Nowitzki has been creating an impressive highlights reel thus far in the playoffs with his variety of moves, and is averaging 28.4 points per game and shooting .517 percent from the field. “He is throwing everything at guys. He is doing every move in the book,” Heat forward Chris Bosh said. “We are all going to have to take up the challenge and try and guard him.”

Nowitzki’s now famous fading jumper on one leg that helped the Mavs beat the Thunder impressed the Heat. “That is something new. He has always made some awkward shots for a big guy, but that one-legged shot that is pretty much unguardable,” said Heat forward Udonis Haslem, who had success guarding Nowitzki in 2006 when the Heat beat the Mavericks to win the title. “Probably the most unstoppable shot ever is the sky hook. I guess you put Dirk second,” James said. “You have a seven-footer fading away off one leg. There is no one that can block that shot.”

The Miami Heat are going to throw a number of looks at Dirk Nowitzki in the title round, with Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem expected to bear the brunt of the responsibility starting tomorrow night.

Despite limited exposure in the past, LeBron James will also likely get opportunities to slow the big German forward during the series. He’ll receive an up-close and personal look at Dirk’s shot that he admires so much.

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  • Sergeant Awesome


  • mike

    MJs fadeaway?


    Ladies and gentlemen, can I please have your attention. I’ve just been handed an urgent and horrifying news story. I need all of you, to stop what you’re doing and listen. CANNONBALL!

  • sam

    1. Sky hook
    2. Wallace/KG’s turnaround fade
    3. Dirk’s fade
    4. Crawford’s three


    Well, @ least he got this right. Kareems shot is the most unguardable ever. Then u can throw n MJ’s fadeway. Rasheeds shot was also very unguardable


    “San Diago means a whales vagina”

  • http://www.slamonline.com Max

    What about Prime Shaq’s dunk?
    I think that’s the most unguardable shot ever..

  • Zabba

    1.Sky Hook
    2. Shaq’s drop step
    3. MJ’s Fadeaway
    4. Hakeem’s Dream Shake, baby!
    5. Hardaway’s crossover. Yes, better than A.I.’s. When you got a guy with a better jump shot it’s harder to guard that. Although A.I. was slightly quicker, no doubt.

  • http://tempdog1 stephen

    If this was facebook Id like Max’s comment

  • Jer dawg

    Shaq’s drop step baseline was insane. He’d go to it 8/10 times and SCORES 8/10 times. The other 2 shots he’ll just shoot half hooks. Its amazing the scrutiny or praise everyone heaps onto someone when the spotlight is shining. We’d never say Dirk was great. Or how terrible Russell Westbrook has Marbury syndrome. Or how unstoppable and loved by everyone Zach Randolph is. Finally, how old Kobe looks at 32years old. Media scrutiny to the Nth degree.
    That said, Dirk’s shot IS unbelievable. So odd, yet 52% effective.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    Prime Shaq’s dunk has victimized so many people I think I’d put that number one as well. Simply Unstoppable.

  • Ka

    Hey sam when did kg/sheed pull that off in big games? Howabout NEVER.

  • Atsushi

    I would agree with:
    Dirks Fadeaway is the most unguardable shot by an active player.

    I can remember the match Germany vs. Turkey years ago where he caught fire and scored 5-6 times in consecutive posessions with this shot.
    You can’t block this.

    But in terms of effectiveness i’ll go with Shaq or the “Hedo to Howard alley oop” :)


    Shaq an Hakeem and Kareem an mchale their best post move was the most dominant and the chief baseline spin

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Dumb statement, by a dumb guy, if it is so unstoppable, what happen in 2006, getting beat by an eight seed with the best record in NBA, and this is the first time in Dirks career he looks like a real player. Funny, I think Jason Terry and Jason Kidd is the reason Dallas is playing so well. Dirk is playing well, but Jason’s is the key.

  • Pogimax

    My list of unstoppable moves (in descending order):

    1. Kareem’s Sky Hook: http://youtu.be/mlB8X101kME

    Why centers don’t learn this nowadays offends my basketball senses. I mean, you’re using your body and offshoulder (and elbow too) to keep the defender off. Then, you’re jumping. And your whole shooting arm is extended way over the defender. When you get it down, no way that shot is not getting off. There’s a reason why Kareem holds the most total points scored in an NBA career. This is why.

    2. The Dream Shake: http://youtu.be/29WpgU0pqN8

    Why fake out a defender once when you can fake him out 4-6 times? The sheer variety of moves one can make out of the Dream Shake–you never know what’s going to hit you. This move made David Robinson look like Todd McCulloch. Yes, I put Robinson and McCulloch in the same sentence.

    3. MJ’s fadeaway: http://youtu.be/V0Uw5B–arA

    To be fair, anything done by the greatest player of all time is bound to be recorded as one of the greatest anything done by any player. That said, MJ’s fadeaway set the standard by which all fadeaways are judged by. Fake defender out by jukes, then jump away, then while in the air, square the shoulders, and shoot it softly–MJ makes an ultimately UN-fundamental jump shot look so natural.

    4. Any low-post dunk or move by Shaq in his prime: http://youtu.be/sUE_0LRxtpU

    There was a time when the 5 scariest basketball words you can utter was: “Shaq in the low post.” Really, once he received that pass inside, it’s all over.

    5. Dirk’s Fadeaway: http://youtu.be/HfewOvwxMR0

    Possibly the closest thing to a sure make we have in the present NBA. Reason why it’s in my top 5: the move looks so unnatural and unbalanced that it shouldn’t work, but it works anyway. Why it does: Nowitzki’s deft touch + step back + 7’0″ height + slight fade jump + German magic bestowed by Odin and Thor.

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    1. Kareem skyhook
    2. Shaq drop step
    3. Dirk fadeaway
    4. MJ fadeaway
    5. Duncan bank shot

  • celts4ever

    i agree, Dirks Fadeaway is the most unguardable shot becose hes 7 feet tall and shoot over his head. how do you stop player like that? im just asking.

  • T-Money

    The Seed struggles with reading comprehension. Unstoppable as in you can’t stop him from getting it off. How many times have you seen Dirk get blocked on his one-legged fade away?

  • DRob

    Hmm…NBA memory is so shallow at times, George Gervin’s Finger roll was just as automatic, and totally unstoppable high percentage shot; MJ’s fadeaway jumper was still lethal on those 38 something knees on his last comeback tour…Most 7 foot Jumpshot shooting big men are traditionally hard to stop…just LBJ and his mind games, getting Dirk comfortable instead of hungry going into the Finals…

  • Stainless

    his shot kind of reminds me of Larry Bird in a slight way.

  • Mike

    What about a Vince Carter dunk in the early 2000s? Aint nobody blocking one of those.

  • DRob

    If they shut down the supporting cast; they won’t need worry about Dirk, one man can’t win NBA Final game…


    Technically a dunk isn’t a shot, n my opinion. And a dunk can b blocked. U just need sum huevos to try and do it. Haha! Unless u came from behind 2 block Kareems Sky Hook, MJ’s fadeaway or Sheed’s shot, u had no chance of blocking them defending them straight up

  • T-Money

    More importantly, you can’t “get off” a dunk whenever you want to, regardless of the defense, on every possession.

  • alphabetaherculis

    Whatever, the most unstoppable stop in NBA history is the DreamShake by Hakeem Olajuwon. Find me one tape where he got blocked with that shot. Go ahead research.


    Co-sign T-Money. Even elementary kids can dunk

  • Kyle

    LeBrons Crab Dribble is definitely the most unstoppable move ever


    @alpha. The Dream Shake wasn’t a shot. It was the move before the shot

  • spit hot fiyah

    chuck hayes free throw

  • http://WWW.SLAMONLINE.COM Benn0

    i just got the new iLebron cell phone i dont really like it cause it can only vibrate cause it doesnt have any rings :)

  • http://slamonline.com JL

    I would argue that an unstoppable shot includes two components, one a the degree of difficulty to block or stop by the defense, and two the FG% for that shot. A bonus would probably be how often they are fouled in the act of shooting with that move, but Shaq would dominate that bonus. Another element to look at is if fouled, how likely are they able to complete the score. Which Shaq gets docked again since he FT% is terrible. I do think if you can foul someone to stop him from scoring and he can’t complete from the FT line, then that is stopping him. Look at late game situations when they have to take shaq out. I do lack the stats that back up my arguments and no time to do the math but oh well.

    1. Kareem’s Skyhook – Times he got blocked I don’t think I think it’s single digits. I heard it in an interview before. Career FG% – 55.9% FT% – 72.1%

    2. MJ – I’m not sure which move to pin him down on cuz he’s just so skilled. It’s not just about the fadeaway for him. Career FG% – 49.7% FT% – 83.5%

    3. Shaquille Inside Scoring – There’s a reason why there is something called hackashaq. He scores at a rate higher than his FT% if you don’t foul him. Career FG% – 58.2% FT% – 52.7%

    I would think TD’s bank shot would fit in there somewhere, Wilt’s giantness, Lebron… he takes too many jump shots and his FG and FT%’s are too low to be elite but still he is great, and Hakeem’s post moves too. I don’t know who else I missed but those stats guys with the expertise can easily dig this up with the right tools for more recent players. This seems to be one thing that you can effectively measure with stats.

  • Heals

    @Pogimax and everyone dropping lists, props this is a good discussion. Good looking out on the links…

  • MikeC.

    Sam Cassel, free throw line extended. Jumper in the air, splash through the net, testicle dance. Repeat as needed.

  • JTaylor21

    The most unstoppable shot ever is probably the Sky Hook then after that it’s Hakeem’s fadeaway, Bird’s mid-range, MJ’s turnaround J and JWest’s pullup J.

  • MikeC.

    To me, an unstoppable shot is one that you can go to in the clutch as well. I agree with whoever it was above that said FT% has to play a role as well. Shaq’s moves in the paint were unstoppable, except for the fact that he didn’t get to use them much at the end of close games because he’d get shut down by the FT line. The Dream Shake was fantastic, and could lead to any number of shots. Dream was also a good FT shooter. Kareem’s skyhook was so smooth. I only caught the last couple seasons of his career, and I remember him moving so slowly compared to the younger guys. But when he got downcourt, and caught the ball on the block, if a hard double didn’t come, it was over. Dirk is entering that stratosphere this season. When he gets the ball in his spots, if a hard double doesn’t come, it’s over. He’s one of the best FT shooters ever, so fouling him only helps him. If only he could jump more than a few inches, he’d have the tools to be the greatest ever, regardless of position or era.

  • Dagger

    I’m sorry, I watched Mike in his prime and I have to say that Dirk’s shot fadeaway is unguardable. Not because Dirk is better, not because the shot itself is better, but simply because Dirk is 6 inches taller. That’s huge. That’s what makes it impossible to guard. The key to Dirk is to aggressively apply pressure before he gets that shot off, because once he does it’s over.

  • Dagger

    Dirk’s fadeaway is more unguardable*

  • WTF

    Someone up there mentioned Crawford’s 3? Like, as in, Jamaal Crawford’s 3pt shot? I read that and almost starting LOLing. What is unstoppable about that? Further, what is even significant about Crawford as a professional basketball player that one of the most low percentage shot in his repertoire merits mention in this discussion? Seriously, you guys …

  • toinefan88

    Paul Pierce step-back.

  • Demigod

    ^^^Yeah.^^^ But you need to stop salivating over nothin. Why are you saying this when dirk aint won no titles with his so called unstopable shot. It’s like saying Bron is the best ever but without a title you aint ish. RECOGNISE !! M.J. won titles with his J and dirk ? he bout to come real close again :-) thats it . Back up off my Dizzump Chizump !!!!!

  • Demigod

    @ Caboose + Shaqs drop step aint a shot stoopid !

  • JTaylor21

    Also we might as well throw McHale’s jumphook, TD’s bank-shot, Prime KG’s turnaround J, Sam Jone’s bank shot, Iceman’s finger-roll, Frazier’s high-arching J, 06 DWade’s bank shot and Zeke’s mid-range in there.

  • http://nicekicks.com meloman2.0

    Melos jab step

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Ewing’s turnaround, which he then taught to Yao, who then made it even more unstoppable. 7’6 with a turnaround off the block = impossible to guard.

  • robb

    I like what JTaylor’s saying

  • the Dude

    Looks like the Heat want Dirk to shoot this shot A LOT.

  • MikeC.

    @JTaylor- if you’re talking about 06 Wade, then you must be talking about the refs’ whistles. His unstoppable move in the 06 Finals was having 25 guaranteed free throws before the game even started. I don’t mind dudes shooting tons of free throws, but earn those trips. I hate the “he’s a superstar and you’re nearby so you MUST have fouled him” calls.

  • 80

    Lebrons travelling drive layup/dunk is unstoppable. He always does it(10/10) and refs let it slide.

  • http://www.brilliance.com Gia Diamonds

    I will agree on Kareem’s sky hook as number one. From Milwaukee to LA, he used this as his most explosive offensive weapon that brought championships and rings. I would place Dirk’s one-legged fallaway within the top ten, or maybe top 5. Yes, we should throw in Shaq Attack, MJ’s fader…

    But Tim Hardaway’s crossovers are stiff.. AIs are the best killer crossovers

  • MikeC.

    ^a crossover dribble isn’t a shot.

  • MikeC.

    Unstoppable move? Yes. Shot? No. Age put the clamps on AI’s crossover and he didn’t have enough actual game to hang when his athleticism dipped.

  • Hugo

    shaqs dunk is not a shot

  • hoodsnake

    What about James Worthy’s jumper? That was money. Willis Reed also also couldn’t be stopped by bigger C’s in his prime.

  • JC

    Unstoppable?…..A Ginobili flop….

  • http://twitter.com/hurstysyd Hursty

    as well as everything else that’s been mentioned – Paul Pierce elbow fadeaway jumper. Money.

  • sheedfan

    Sam’s right.

  • KH10

    Kobe’s fadeaway? i seem to remember dude scoring about 60 of those 81 using it, and he has more range than MJ’s.


    1.)Jordan’s Fade away
    2.)Shaq’s freight train slammer
    3.)jabbar’s sky hook
    4.)Dirk’s one legged fadeaway

  • @Deknowz

    LeBron has a point, Dirk is a Legit 7 footer who shoots over 50% from the field. He fades off one leg and shoots it with a rainbow arc, that’s like a 12 foot release point from which the balls going almost vertical. The people that can stop jumpers like that haven’t been born yet! It’s only second because the skyhook was done inside 5 feet from the basket from a 7 footer fully extended with crazy wingspan coming from any and every direction, that shot should have been banned! lol


    JC nailed it! Real talk. You can’t F with the Ginobili flop.

  • mdshuai33

    As far as Sahq’s dunk, who did he victimize with it, really? Vlade Divac and Arvydis Sabonis were the two best centers he played against in his championship runs, the Admiral was too old by then to be considered elite, same with Ewing and Olaujuwan…pretty sure I just spelled that wrong. And it wasn’t unstoppable: remember when Ben Wallace threw his ass to the ground blocking one of those in the 2006 eastern finals? and its not a “shot.”

  • Demigod

    OrangeBoys B.S. is the most unstopable shot :-) Unlike Ginobs Flop which aint a shot. STOP !!! hammertime

  • OvaChicken

    mdshuai33 . Ima throw it out there just in case. Are you on crack son ?

  • http://sohh.com teamplayer65

    Fat round brown coming out of a flesh crown. Wet down.

  • http://sohh.com teamplayer65

    Who does everyone think is going to be Finals MVP regardless of which team wins? My money in on Dwade trying to steal Lebron’s spotlight.

  • http://HomeInspectionMarketingCenter.com Home Inspector Training

    Now the time has come, this is the much awaited match or a rematch from 2006 Finals. I can’t wait to watch this game now.

  • mario taylor

    its a long time now Dirk’s a great player now the ring is the ultimate thing to seal it. i think he is the best player on the planet!

  • Yesse

    Kareem’s shot is probably the most unstoppable shot ever. I guess Dirk would be 3rd. There would also be MJ’s and Kobe’s fadeaway. If Shaq could get the ball down low in his prime, that is a pretty unstoppable situation too.


    what about scalabrine’s unseen shot? you cant stop what you cant see…

  • brandon

    how bout ray allens free throw

  • brandon

    nobody blocks one of those
    90% of the time they go in!

  • David

    Everyone forgetting hakeem olajuwans ‘dream shake’? that was a nice move. and he was an excellent player. that move was insane still works too

  • rich

    lets get this straight, were not talking about moves, shakes or what not, were talking about an actual shot, right? with that said, kareems sky hook stands alone. todays game/players combine shots w moves, the success of the move often dictates the availability of the shot, kareem didnt require anything else, all he did was get the ball, and turned into the defender, not away,into the sky hook and that was that. the only SHOT that deserves to be in the conversation is well, nothing really.

  • Kyle

    I watch Jordan miss over 50 percent of his fade away jumpers when they counted. Dirk has the most difficult fade away off either leg that has him almost horizontal creating a 7 or 8 inch space between him and his defender. He makes it like it’s a layup. Also, he still tricks defenders into ticky tack fouls after he’s shot it and the shot is money. And now he can just totally fake a pumpfake to get a foul or pump fake, and do a reverse dunk. This is why his go-to shot is the best unless you want to say Kareem’s skyhook was a better one(that’s the only one that’s so difficult go guard.) People talking about Ray Allen don’t realize that he has 3 or 4 illegal screens to get him his open 3, and Reggie Miller was far more deadly. He’d use one screen, stop suddenly and get 3 free throws if the defender messed up, and other times he’d bump off his defender knowing they won’t make the call against him with 2 seconds left against guys like Jordan in playoff games.

  • vin terranova

    Guys r yng…..skry hook, and larry’s step back.

  • Rob Burns

    Um, Jordan’s fade away. Hello! I can count on one had how many times i’ve seen that shot blocked.

  • http://charliechoopdreams charlie c half court hook shot

    I have been working on that type of shot and here it is…you want see it, then here it is…..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zY4v3UsAZQo&feature=related………….thanks for watching…..

  • fup duck

    nice to see Lebron acknowledge the Laker great. Kareem is so undervalued by the media


    FREE THROWS are not guardable. No one is jumping at you on the free throw line!

  • xavi

    he said SECOND most can you even read? he put the skyhook first