This IS NOT a “honor the best guys in NBA history” list. If someone helped mold and create the crossover, that doesn’t mean he’ll make this list. (I looked and looked, but Isiah Thomas never had a crossover nice enough to make it — that doesn’t mean he isn’t one of the greatest ballhandlers ever. Same thing with Kevin Johnson, who mastered going through his legs to lose defenders but didn’t have a move that fit the definitions of this list.) If John Crotty laid down the hammer, then he was going to make the cut (luckily he didn’t). I would’ve thrown in Starbury collapsing the Great Wall of China, but that wasn’t necessarily a great shake… it was more Yao just seeing a real offensive move for the first time in his life and his feet didn’t cooperate.
With that, here are the 20 best crossovers in NBA history.
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20. TIM HARDAWAY, The Crossover GodHardaway often gets the credit for developing one of the first real crossover moves: the killer crossover. What made it so deadly was Hardaway created a counter for it. If you sat on the crossover, he’d simply throw it back between his legs and go right by you.
19. JAMAL CRAWFORD Leaves Wesley Matthews Grabbing At AirThis move was so deadly I still have no idea what Wes Matthews was doing. Did he get pushed? Did he hear a whistle? Did he see Antoine Tyler‘s spirit come down out of the stands? More likely, he was so embarrassed he needed some type of excuse.
18. STEPHEN CURRY Puts Gary Neal In Popovich’s DoghouseBecause he’s probably the NBA’s best shooter, people often forget that Curry has some of the slickest handles in the game. He’s not necessarily the quickest player, but is so smooth with the ball that he often catches defenders overplaying him.
17. Luke Ridnour Face-Plants Trying To Guard RUSSELL WESTBROOKMinnesota fans will contend Ridnour stepped on someone’s foot. I’ll say he got caught up in Westbrook’s tornado, and then tangled his feet up. That was a pretty violent fall, too.
16. DeShawn Stevenson Can’t Feel His Entire Body Against DWYANE WADEWade had a few other crossovers that were more ruthless — I’m thinking of the times he cut down, literally, Eric Snow and Keith McLeod — but neither one of those ended in a made bucket (both times Wade was fouled). But this one on Stevenson (right at the start of this video) was almost just as good.
15. DERON WILLIAMS Turns Toney Douglas All The Way AroundDeron Williams owns my all-time favorite crossover move. The way he leans into it, the way he puts his whole body into it. He hasn’t yanked as many people since moving to Brooklyn, but that’s why YouTube was invented.
14. Steve Nash Slides Out Of His Socks Against TONY PARKERThe man who says he invented the tear drop also has one of the all-time best baseline crossovers. Nash got a dose of it here, but I don’t think any team suffered more at the end of this move than the Lakers.
13. KEVIN DURANT Tells Sasha Pavlovic To Sit DownDurant’s too long and tall to ever be a flashy ballhandler, but he can still cook something impressive up every once in a while. This could’ve been one of those plays that ends someone’s career. Nasty.
12. MICHAEL JORDAN Puts Bryon Russell On A Pogo StickWe’ll be hearing more from these two later on in this list. This double-crossover from Jordan rarely gets any love in his career highlight videos. Tell that to Russell — I’m sure he’ll be glad to hear it.
11. JASON KIDD Destroys Two All-World Defenders On The Same PlayRon Harper and Scottie Pippen might be two of the best defenders of the modern era, but they’re used to getting cracked. Damon Stoudamire once put Harper on his butt, and Kobe often sent Pippen out of the picture. In this one, Kidd’s moves took the both of them out.
10. JAMAL CRAWFORD Barbecues Ray AllenClassic YouTube comment on this video: “This was so nasty I switched to porn when my mom came in.” That’s the only way to describe it. Crawford is known for his “shake-n-bake” but this might be the best move of his career. Jesus just collapsed on the final crossover, unable to keep up. This was also the only move on the list that didn’t technically follow the rules here, but I don’t think you will really care.
9. TIM HARDAWAY UTEP 2-Stepping On Chris ChildsI’ll admit I contemplated putting together this list without Mr. UTEP 2-Step. It’s not that the move isn’t dope, but Hardaway’s not shaking anyone with it the way some of the guys on this list get shook. Alas, it gets another spot simply because of the degree of difficultly. Coming down on the break — at nearly full speed — and then going through-the-legs before bringing it because across your body? That’s Houdini. During his career, Childs got cracked multiple times by Hardaway.
8. ALLEN IVERSON Telling Jacque Vaughn To Sit DownVaughn did the unthinkable: challenging Russell Crowe in the gladiator pit. It takes a certain skill to get crossed up… and then stumble backwards and fall 10 feet beyond on your ass.
7. CHRIS PAUL Spinning Anthony Carter AroundAnthony Carter was always one of my favorite players in the league only because he truly didn’t give a damn about stuff like this. Most players would’ve lost their composure, either smacked the hell out of CP or they would’ve come down on the other end and started chucking. I highly doubt Carter did any of that. The next time I see him, I promise I’ll ask him about the play. I doubt he even remembers. He probably forget about it five minutes after it happened. It’s still an insane move. The goaltend on the end completes it.
6. STEVE FRANCIS Embarrassing Troy HudsonPoor Troy Hudson. He was yanked in every direction possible. But at least he didn’t fall. We’ll give him that. It’s not too often someone can get embarrassed on an island like this during an NBA game. The only way Hudson could’ve won his pride back was with a bucket. But no one remembers one way or another what happened after Francis cooked and served him.
5. MICHAEL JORDAN For A Title On Bryon RussellFirst of all, let’s get one thing straight. That’s no push off. His arm never extended. Therefore, it’s a “nudge.” The whole push off thing has been overblown all these years. You can’t not extend your arm and then still have enough power to send someone like Bryon Russell stumbling five feet. It’s not happening. It was the move — a stop-on-a-dime, pull-back crossover — that had Russell sliding and slipping. Jordan very rarely brought this move out. The fact that he did it on his Last Shot in his final game during his “real” career makes it a top 10 crossover ever.
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4. DERRICK ROSE Destroying Andre MillerI’m surprised Miller could even move fast enough to get himself on his ass. This is the absolute most embarrassing kind of fall. Sometimes you can joke about it. Other times you can try to say you stepped on the guy’s foot or you were pushed. Not this time. Miller was on an island. Rose set him up. Then, Miller dropped. And yes, it ended in a bucket. I’m counting goaltends.
3. JASON WILLIAMS Showing Out Against Gary PaytonYou know who’s writing this right? The biggest J-Will fan in the game. You had to know this move would find it’s way into the top three. After this move, it’s surprising the Glove didn’t jump on the bandwagon as well. You know how you’re always practicing the hesitation moves, hoping someday you’ll actually catch someone badly with it but it never seems to work out? Williams had Payton standing straight up, so off-balance that Payton couldn’t do anything but stick his leg out. This might be the only time in NBA history where a defender was caught so bad that he just had to sit there and say “Damn.”
2. ALLEN IVERSON Puts Antonio Daniels Down TwiceAntonio was dropped twice. Twice. The only thing you can do after that is get up shell-shocked, throw your hands out, and search for a ref to complain to (exactly what Daniels did). Iverson threw Daniels overboard at sea and left him there hoping for someone to throw him a raft. No raft is coming, man. You’ll have to live with this one for the rest of your life. (Daniels also might own the NBA record for “Most times dropped by a crossover in NBA history.” Seriously. Look it up.)
1. ALLEN IVERSON Tells Michael Jordan To Watch The ThroneThe top two plays from Iverson? I had to do it. MJ didn’t get shook as bad as some of the other cats on this list. He actually recovered and contested the shot. But still, when you think of “crossover” this is the first clip that comes to mind. Iverson embodied the cross, and this was his signature’s finest hour. Everything came perfectly into place to make this legendary: MJ guarding him on an island at the top of the key, Jordan going for the initial move and of course, the bucket to top it off. The only thing I dislike about this is Alley I saying he had always promised everyone that when he got to this stage, he would try his move, because… it’s not his move. In the words of blind and loyal Michael Jordan fans (who seem to think it’s illegal to copy a move from someone else): He stole it from Georgetown walk-on Dean Berry.