LeBron James‘ jump shot has improved throughout the course of his career. Following in the footsteps of Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki, James has compensated for any athleticism lost to age by developing a fadeaway jumper that truly emerged as unstoppable in the 2018 playoffs and sucked the life out of the Toronto Raptors om the Eastern Conference playoff semifinals.
During the game that will forever be known as the day LeBron became LeBronto, James hit 7 fadeaway jumpers in the second half. Yes, they have a stat for that too. King James’ performance tied the most fadeaways in a playoff game in the previous 15 years and each one was a dagger in the hearts of Toronto fans, Drake included.
There have been many signature shots that legends of the game have relied on in their most challenging and critical moments. Shots and moves that were so unique, unguardable, incomparable, compelling and consistent ineffectiveness that they became known as unstoppable.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Skyhook
Easily the most unstoppable shot in the history of the game. The high arc of the shot combined with Kareem’s 7-foot-2 height and massive wingspan ensured that if he did take the hook and miss, it wouldn’t be blocked (except by Wilt Chamberlain). Kareem perfected the shot and it was money for him, especially as he aged into his late 30s and was still balling for chips with Magic in LA.
Kareem’s Skyhook spurned Magic Johnsons “Baby Skyhook” which became a lethal go-to offensive move in Magic’s bag of tricks.
MJ’s Cradle Dunk
Michael Jordan took the dunk game — which was popularized by the legendary exploits of Dr. J — put his own spin on it, added a rugged grace and took the artform to a new level. When Jordan went to the hole or left the pack on a fastbreak and he grabbed the basketball, tucked it under his arm and elevated towards the hoop, the basketball world held their collective breaths and braced for the magnificence of another cradle dunk.
It became Jordan’s signature dunk. His Airness had a repertoire of slams that added to his legend and helped elevate him to GOAT status.
Wilt Chamberlains Dipper shot AKA Finger Roll
The only player in NBA history to score 100 points in a game had mad moves. He dominated at a time when the post was king and impacted the game at 7-foot-1 with a grace and beauty befitting of a guard. Chamberlain want your typical plodding big man that welcomed physical contact and tried to prove how strong he was. Wilt the Stilt was unduplicatable in how he combined strength, finesse, superior talent and basically made the finger roll a lit move.
The Black Tornado was when Shaquille ONeal backs a defender down in the post, spins, and powers through for a rim-twisting dunk.
It didn’t matter what supreme defender or low post threat was in front of him, when Shaq had you on the blocks it was a wrap and the Black Tornado usually resulted in a thunderous dunk.
Kobes Fadeaway Jumper
Lebron James fadeaway is getting props these days, but Kobe Bryant was the master of the fadeaway and he had about 20 angles that he confidently and consistently could make the shot from at any point in the game.
Kobe won more games with his fadeaway than a little bit and it remains one of the deadliest and most unstoppable shots by any offensive player in history.
Dirks One-legged Fadeaway
The Combination of Dirks shooting touch and height made him one of the greatest scorers in NBA history. At 7-feet tall, Nowitzki held the ball high over his head and released it from an unblockable position and it became the signature move of the legendary German’s Hall of Fame career. Holger Geschwinder is the basketball coaching savant who taught Nowitzki his lethal shot which helped him rise to sixth place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
The Answer’s Crossover
Anyone who can make Michael Jordan look silly is eligible for this list.
Throughout his 15-year NBA career, Iverson flexed a variety of moves we probably won’t ever see again by a player of his size and physical stature, but his calling card was his deadly crossover that allowed him to create space and bewilder defenders as he made his way to the hoop.
Iverson took the torch from Tim Hardaway and birthed a generation of crossover killers from Jamal Crawford to Derrick Rose to Kyrie Irving, but none were as lethal as Iverson.
Tim Duncan Bank Shot
“The Big Fundamental” Tim Duncan was the bridge between old school basketball and the new school evolution of the center/forward position. Duncan is considered by many to be the greatest power forward of all-time, but he accumulated the points that have made him 14th on the all-time scoring list by killing dudes with the basics over and over again. He mixed in a ton of remarkable shots as well, but the simple playground bankshot — a lost art form in today’s game — was Duncans bread and butter move and virtually unstoppable.