The Art of the SkyHook

kareem abdul jabbar skyhook

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is by far the leading scorer in the history of the NBA. He utilized the greatest shot that the Association, and any other basketball leagues had ever seen, yet, following his departure, it has not been utilized by today’s breed of players.

The skyhook has essentially disappeared from the tool belts of basketball players of today, which seems absolutely absurd in the eyes of people who saw just how dominant the shot was for Kareem.

Abdul-Jabbar put a lot of effort into making sure his hook shot was perfected. If the generation of today took note on how much their games would be elevated with the skyhook in their arsenal, they should be considered crazy to not practice it.

The skyhook is essentially a one handed shot that the player shoots with his hand that is furthest away from the basket. Keeping the arm straight with the ball, Kareem released it using his wrist at a high point that was far from the body of the defender, practically making it impossible for players to block it.

hook shotThe hook shot had been familiar to the league, but the common way of shooting the hook was people to release it around the height of their head, which made it easier to defend.

Why aren’t people developing the skyhook into their game today. “It’s too hard,” says Jon McGlockin, who is the current broadcaster of the Milwaukee Bucks and also a former teammate of Jabbar. I say that’s hogwash. Some people say it’s the hardest shot in basketball. I think people don’t utilize it because they aren’t practicing it enough.

kareem abdul jabbar“Yeah. it’s teachable. I learned it.” Straight from the all-time leading scorer’s mouth. “I learned that shot in the fifth grade and by the time I entered the ninth grade it was there and I could use it. Anyone else can learn it. It’s certainly not rocket science.”

Abdul Jabbar wasn’t the first to use the skyhook. But he certainly used it to perfection.

The key to the skyhook, unlike the jumpshot is to have the body perpendicular to the basket. In doing so, the defender has to reach all the way across the body to get to the ball. Plus, since there is not much of a gather when releasing the skyhook, it is harder for the defense to predict when there is a shot going up.

By adding the skyhook to the toolbelt, it gives the defense something else to be unsure about whether or not you are going up for the skyhook, or going to fake it and pull up for a jumpshot or spin for a layup.

The key to the skyhook is getting off of the floor by jumping and getting an even better height to the release. Keeping the footwork good and parallel with the baseline before the jump keeps the ball far away from the defender and makes it especially hard to block.

There’s a reason the highest scoring player in NBA history scored so many points, and much of it is attributed to the skyhook. With the skyhook apart of his game, along with other offensive moves, defenders had a hard time guessing which shot he was going to pull up to take, and even a harder time defending it once he pulled up.

The skyhook can be used by any position on the court. Nearly all players will find themselves with the ball near the basket at some point. Whether you are a center a point guard, if you can shoot the skyhook accurately, you have a good chance at getting the ball to the basket without the defender swatting it away.