Decade’s Best: Crossover

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.