Love for the game: Jukes, fakes, ankle breakers


“Too many possibilities when the man with the ball gets to say which way and when, how fast and for how long. And you can multiply all that by ten if the guy can play”- Matt De La Pena

Anytime two guys are matched up, the one with the ball always has the advantage. The advantage of being one step ahead. He makes his move; the other guy has to follow his lead. Always. Barring the case when the defender tries to steal the ball or pressure the ball handler. In which case the defense is left exposed, again advantage: ball handler. If a guy plays you tight, blow by him; if he backs off protecting the drive, shoot over him. He’s bigger? Drive past him. You have a lower center of gravity so you can change directions quicker. Get him off balance for a second and make your move. Same height or smaller? Shoot over him. Double teams? Pass it off to the open guy.

A psychology student will tell you that gambling is a form of addiction. Our brains are wired to enjoy situations involving the mix of potential gains and uncertainty. The gray matter loves it when we cast our lot one way, put up some stakes and stand to win something. The winning itself does not mean everything. If you keep winning on a consistent basis, winning loses its charm. Playing through a video game in god mode can be a bore.The uncertainty involved in beating your man off the dribble is like a session at a casino. Only a whole lot faster. And with infinite possibilities. And you get to choose.

Snake charmers, matadors, hypnotists and ball handlers. In their arena, they all exert control in their own ways. One uses rhythmic movements to lead the snake on. In a similar way a baller dribbles around watching the defender move along with him. Hypnotism starts with lulling the subject in a stupor, usually with a back and forth movement. One of the many ways to blow by your man is to perform a small series of repetitive movements and check if your man mirrors your movements. If he does, congratulations, you have him hypnotized. Make a sudden move out of pattern and watch him stagger. One look, a shoulder fake, jab step, a crossover and the D is left lost in your wake.

This is a collection of ankle breakers. For ballers and all the Star Wars geeks who longed to use Force Push to make people fall, here is another way to drop someone on all fours without touching them.

(Pics from Ball don’t lie, a movie based on Matt De La Pena’s novel of the same name.)

Edited by Staff Editor


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