Jamal Crawford is widely regarded as the NBA’s best ball-handlers. Across all six teams he’s played on during his 14-year career, Crawford is a regular on highlight reels for embarrassing defenders with his crossovers.
Basketball website Ball Is Life produced a documentary on Crawford and his summer exploit: The Seattle Pro-Am.
The documentary looks at Crawford’s summer league in Seattle that regularly features other NBA players, and serves as a highlight factory during the NBA’s offseason. Much of the focus, of course, is on Crawford’s insane dribbling ability.
Crawford speaks at length about it, but admits a surprising secret about his dribbling:
“It’s almost embarrassing because I couldn’t tell you a drill to do. Like, I don’t do drills at all. I think that’s why a lot of people who handle the basketball, I think mine looks different. You know, ’cause I’ve never done a drill. I’ve never done ‘get to a chair and go through your legs,’ or ‘get to a spot and a cone and go through your legs or behind your back.’
“It was always off instinct, because that cone is not going to be a 6’5″, 6’6″, 6’7″ wing who’s athletic who can jump and can move. I think with me not scripting anything, my moves are more effective that way.”
It’s certainly a different approach, and likely doesn’t thrill basketball traditionalists or coaches. Crawford mentions in the documentary that he always carried a ball around with him as a kid, so he did get natural practice handling the ball, even if he didn’t do scripted drills.
However, there’s no doubting Crawford’s effectiveness in dribbling. He crossed over people in high school:
He’s done it plenty in the NBA:
And as the documentary shows, he does it plenty in his summer league:
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