A crossover move in basketball refers to dribbling and switching the ball swiftly from one hand to the other in order to confuse the defender and move ahead of him. When mastered, this move turns out to be one of the most effective offensive techniques in basketball. A good crossover move enables the player to change direction with a speed that easily deceives the opponent. The motive of performing a crossover is to distance yourself from the opponent by faking your direction and getting past him to get a clear and uncontested shot at the basket. When performing the fake, it is imperative that the defender believes it. This is achieved by leaning in one direction while dribbling, and then suddenly switching the dribble to the other hand and getting past the defender in that direction.
There are many variations to the crossover move performed by basketball players, but the basic technique essentially remains the same. When crossovers are performed swiftly and with deadly consequences, they are popularly called ‘killer crossovers’. For a crossover to be called a killer move, it needs to have perfect execution, such that it renders the opponent stunned and unbalanced, and does not leave any chance for him to do anything about the move until it’s too late. They either slip and fall, or remain motionless while the player sails past them with the ball.
How to Perform a Crossover
A killer crossover is an extremely fast offensive move that is usually performed by advanced players having excellent ball-handling skills. To perform a killer crossover, the player fakes his movement by taking a wide step in one direction, along with faking a head movement in that direction, and then swiftly dribbling the ball to the other hand and moving past the defender in another direction. The player may perform the crossover either between the legs, or in the front from side-to-side. If the defender gives in to the fake, he loses his guard and the player is able to create a clear lane for himself to cruise past his opponent.
Let’s see how to perform a killer crossover effectively in a step-by-step manner.
Steps to Perform a Killer Crossover
Step 1: Dribble and Stop
Start dribbling with your dominant hand. Let’s assume that it is your right hand. Dribble up to the defender using your right hand, and stop or slow down a meter away from him with your left leg slightly forward.
Step 2: Fake the Jump
Next, you need to pretend that you are planning to take a jump shot. You do not have to actually take the shot. Slightly raise your body as if you are going to take the jumper, while still maintaining the dribble. If the defender gives in to the fake, he will raise himself and bend forward slightly, thereby restricting his ability to move backwards to defend.
Step 3: Switch the Ball
If you see that the defender is reacting suitably to your fake, immediately dribble the ball from your right hand to your left hand. You can shift the ball from side-to-side, or between your legs if the opponent is too close to you.
Step 4: Fake Your Movement
Next, you need to fake your movement towards your left side. To do so, slightly drop your right shoulder down a little, and move slightly to your left in order to fake that you want to move to your left. Paying attention to how your opponent is reacting is the key to carry out this move effectively.
Step 5: Crossover and Cruise
If your fake is good, the defender will push himself to the left to prevent you from moving past him. This is the ideal reaction you want from your opponent. As soon as this happens, perform a swift crossover to shift the ball back to your right hand keeping the ball close to your body. Now immediately push off with your left foot forward towards your right, passing the defender’s left leg. Moving in this angle blocks the defender and gives you a clear space to dribble past him. Bounce the ball forward, or ahead of you, to prevent any steals from the back.
As you move past the defender, his attention as well as his momentum would still be in the opposite direction. Any sudden reaction on his part would most probably cause him to lose balance, twist his ankles, or fall to the ground.
Pioneers of the Killer Crossover
Tim Hardaway and Allen Iverson are two NBA players popularly regarded as the pioneers of killer crossovers in the game of basketball. Their killer crossover technique is considered to be the best in basketball playing circles.
Tim Hardaway, an NBA legend, is regarded as the pioneer of the killer crossover. His own version of the crossover move is considered to be one of the best basketball moves, and is popularly called ‘Utep-2-Step’. This is because he played at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Hardaway’s version of the killer crossover involved dribbling the ball between his legs and then doing a quick crossover, and swiftly sailing past the baffled defender.
Allen Iverson is another basketball legend known for his perfectly-executed killer crossovers. This NBA legend now plays for the Denver Nuggets. Allen Iverson mastered the move at a very young age, while still in school. Allen’s style to carry out the killer crossover was to bend his body in one direction, keeping the shoulders low. He would then follow a ‘slow to quick’ movement, dribbling the ball very low close to the knees, and then doing a crossover and rushing past the defender.
Performing a killer crossover is not as easy at it looks, and requires years of practice to improve your swiftness and ball-handling skills. With time and practice, you can refine your skills to effectively ‘sell your fake’ to the defender and move fast enough to get past him and take a shot. So, practice hard, and go ahead and execute this move that is perhaps the most entertaining and popular move in the game of basketball!