Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on Why No One Today Can Shoot a Skyhook | Conversations with Tyler

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on Why No One Today Can Shoot a Skyhook | Conversations with Tyler

COWEN: A few basketball questions. I know
you’ve been asked this before, but I’d like to press on the details a bit. Your skyhook
was unstoppable, pretty much. You’re the leading scorer in NBA history. You won a finals
MVP award 14 years apart. That’s maybe your greatest record, actually. No one could stop
it. My guess is no one today could stop it. Very few players, if any, have really had
a significant skyhook, and why don’t they learn it?
ABDUL-JABBAR: The reason that young kids today don’t learn how to shoot hook shots is because
everybody is so enamored with the three-point shot. So the kids, they don’t want two points.
They don’t want to work with their back to the basket. That’s not cool. They want
to go out there in the stratosphere and shoot three-pointers.
I didn’t think that that worked. For the longest time, that did not work as solid basketball
strategy. But now when we have a time — when you have people like Stephen Curry, who can
shoot the ball, he can — I’ve never seen anybody shoot like that. I’ll give
you an explanation. They showed Stephan shooting 100 three-point
shots in practice. He made 92 out of 100 from the three-point arc, including 77 in a row.
This is just practicing. Anybody that can shoot like that is on a different plane from
all the guys that I played against, and the people that I saw when I first started watching
the game in 1960. I never seen anybody shoot the ball like that.
If that is the coming talent level of NBA players, they’re going to be forgetting
a lot about the guys that played in my era and the earlier eras of the NBA because the
talent level of the guys playing now has really risen.
But they’re not teaching the kids how to score in the paint with their back to the
basket, and, therefore, a lot of them don’t get to learn the hook shot, and they don’t
get to realize that if you get close to the basket, a lot more of your shots will go in.
They don’t seem to understand that. That was the first thing that I learned, and
so I worked on that hook shot and learned how to get positioned close to the basket
where I can get my hook shot off.

100 thoughts on “Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on Why No One Today Can Shoot a Skyhook | Conversations with Tyler

  1. He is EXACTLY right! Today’s players have so many weaknesses because they were never taught the basic fundamentals of the game!

  2. Total crap. The reason no one shoots skyhooks is because it can be guarded so easily today. Kareem only did it with his right hand and only when turning to his left side. As a defender you just have to prevent that turn and trust the help defence that is on the guys left hand side

  3. What they call the skyhook is what we simply called the hook shot back in the fifties. It wasn't unusually difficult and it felt pretty natural. I think most people can probably do it if they simply practice and don't overthink it.

  4. if kareem came straight out of high school with the skyhook would have scored 48000 easy and dont know how many titles and mvp hes in my top 5 of greatest of all time

  5. It still don't work what they gonna do when they go cold. Players Wana face up in the paint and slash

  6. 3 pointers are boring asf unlesss they clutch. I miss the old kobe 360 in game dunks, paul georges, terrence ross, and vince. Now we watch 7'1 centers shoot threes. Fuck the nba

  7. Not to mention at 7ft something the hook was damn near impossible to block . I think I only Wilt and one or 2 other monstrous players blocked it and you can count they amounts on 1 hand .

  8. Complete load of bullshit. The reason people don't "learn" it today is because that shit would get sent to the stand every single time now a days. There are actual athletes playing center now, who can jump out of the gym. When Kareem was playing those guys had no chance to block it because they weren't athletic enough. You think Dwight Howard is obsessed with the 3 and that's why he didn't learn the sky hook? Hell no. It's because he knows he couldn't even get the shot off. Good try trying to protect your legacy Kareem but we all know youre full of shit.

  9. Unless you are a 7 footer it is virtually impossible to shoot a sky hook. It was called a sky hook because of Abdul-Jabbar"s
    height which made it nearly impossible to stop. If you are not tall then it is just your ordinary run of the mill hook shot.

  10. People dont use it or master it simply because its an EXTREMELY difficult shot. I find the fade away to be easier and ALMOST just as unstoppable.

  11. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16

    Only Jesus is the way to Heaven and be saved from hell.

    "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
    Romans 5:8

    "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6

    Have you confessed Jesus as your LORD and Savior? You must confess Him as your LORD and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead to be saved from eternal damnation in hell and be able to go to Heaven

    "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Romans 10:9

    "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." 1 John 5:7

  12. wait a second they werent shooting it a few years ago before golden state was doing 3 pointers its been a while since the sky hook was less popular

  13. Jabbar is the still the all time points leader nearly 30 years after his last game and many good players have come and gone since then. He only has 1 3 pointer to his name ever made during regular season. Think about that before saying that some of these newer guys are better. Its a team sport and he has 6-7 titles to his name.

  14. Just needs tk be taught to kids when they are young. The kids that enjoy shooting it will use it later in life.

  15. I don't think it has anything to do with younger players not attempting it. Truth to be told the skyhook is extremely hard. Even right under the rim a skyhook is pretty hard. But add a distance of 3+ meters and the shot becomes so hard to shoot. a 3 pointer is fairly easy to shoot if you have some form, but a skyhook is so hard since the ball comes from behind your back and you are almost throwing a blind shot. I pracitsed a lot on it and I didn't improve the slightest on it it just is a nearly impossible shot. I would prefer doing a fade away every day than doing a skyhook. If you have the right size than a fade is pretty much unguaradable as well so I don't see the need for it. I think NBA players should learn it more but I can understand it being ditched so often.

  16. i feel like the pre-req for a legit sky hook is you have to be tall. a 6' 3" guard trying to sky hook on a 6' 10" or 7' is probably going to get blocked

  17. Kareem, Pete, dirk, magic and lebron. That’s my starting five. Kinda hard choosing between wilt and Kareem.

  18. Craig Hodges still holds the records for most 3pt contest makes in a round and in a row to this day. Yet he only got to attempt two 3-pointers a game in his career. That's how different the approaches are between Kareem's era and the present. The drawback in today's style is that almost every stat other than threes have declined compared to his time. Especially offensive rebounding, which hit an all-time low at single digit per game this past season.

  19. It's unpopular during this Era to post up or shoot the mid range jumper. It's easier to setup and shoot a 3.

  20. A 5-7 more years players in the league won t be as good in defending the paint. Defensive coaching schemes and practice drills won t be as focused in the post. some kid will learn the sky hook or dirk s fade away or be dominant like shaq or move like hakeem.

  21. Truth is the NBA has mass promoted the 3 point shooting style because of the fact that they feel more fans will watch if the games are higher scoring….they do not want teams to use the standard offense where you run a play and keep running it until someone gets open or you throw it into a dominate strong big man and let him either back down his man for an easy score of pass off to an open team mate for a 3 pointer when double teamed like Hakeem Olajuwon and others did for years in the league….now days the NBA wants all team to run back and forth up and down court as fast as possible and fire up 3 pointers to run the score up….they dont want hard fought defensive minded coaching strategy matchups….they want run and gun fling it up style….what is funny …back in the 80's Denver had a coach named Doug Moe who ran a passing game offense of run and gun style mentality where he put a slew of very good shooters on the court…Alex English, Michael Adams, Fat Lever and many others throughout the 1980's….During that time the Nuggets was known for being one of the most eletric offensive scoring teams in the league if you based it on points per game they averaged….however no one ever gave them much press outside of Denver because everyone only cared about the Lakers and Celtics Rivalry and outside of those teams during the 1980's unless you was Philly with Dr. J and Moses Malone in the early 80's you really never got much national press….Denver was not known for being a great defensive team however and therefore while under Moe they always was a very tough team that was going to score and shoot the lights out….they gave up a ton of points as well…it was not uncommon to see a Nuggets game with a score during the Doug Moe coaching era of say Nuggets 139 and Mavericks 127 for example….very high scoring games….when MOe left as coach they brought in Paul Westphaul who had a blazing system even more so where he demanded his players bring the ball up the court and shoot within 7 seconds from inbounding the ball….some said that would be the future of the NBA as the league then was starting to realize that many fans loved seeing the fast breaking lakers with Worthy and Magic averaging 20 a game and having nights of 40 points….the league felt that fans didnt want to see the grind it out physical defense minded teams…however old school coaches like the Pat Riley's and Larry Brown's knew that come playoff time that every team had its share of guys who could score it was the teams that could play the best defense that usually advanced in the playoffs….which is why for years teams like The Milwaukee Bucks and the Denver Nuggets of the early to mid 80's could run up the score quite well with a very good offensive team…but would be first Round and go home playoff teams basically ever year….they didnt play defense only worried about scoring…..teams like the Lakers and Celtics did have all time great stars but they also had tough minded defensive roll players that was physical and the Detroit Pistons of the late 80's may have been the most physical intimidating team in the history of the game….and they won back to back titles with Isiah Thomas as their best player and a team surrounding him not with 3 or 4 other all stars…but role players who excelled at defensive pressure and in some cases scoring which was James Edwards and Vinny Johnson….but they showed the world in the late 80's that superior defense could beat teams like the Magic led electric offense Lakers and the Bird led Celtics….and of course for several years the Michael Jordan Scottie Pippen Bulls….as even the best player in the league Jordan couldn't over come the Pistons tenacious defensive pressure sending double and triple teams at him constantly and using their entire bench to use up fouls making sure that on every drive attempt to the basket Jordan was met with the hardest fouls and defensive pressure possible…trying to mentally intimidate him from attacking the lane. Causing him to settle more for outside jumpers instead of get beat down by foul after foul after foul. When I say foul I dont mean todays slap on the wrist fouls the refs call for Lebron…I am talking real fouls where you end up on your back on the floor after getting fouled because you just got hammered. That was how big men good and bench ones played in the 20th century….and guards and small forwards were in trouble when they drove that lane in the playoffs. The NBA hated this because they felt more money could be made from more higher scoring games….so as the years went by they cracked down on the rule book…they moved the 3 point line in closer than it had always been….then they cracked down on hand checking rules they cracked down and began calling technical fouls on plays that in the past was just considered good hard physical basketball….by the time David Stern retired …Adam Silver had the rule book in favor of the league gearing up offense…..and he continued to tweak rules and how the refs called games to increase final scores….with the mind set that if a college team can score 80 points in a game then the NBA players should be scoring double maybe even triple that one day….when Golden State put together Curry and Thompson….and I mean before Durant signed and went there…the NBA already was preaching and promoting Curry and Thompson's 3 point shooting as the future of the NBA and saying all teams had to play that way to beat them….when in actuality even now with Durant…the teams that try to play their style of game gets beat way more than not however Golden State is not invincible as Houston showed in playoffs…they struggle mightly against teams with very athletic defensive minded rebounding machines like the Rockets and Capela last year….the different offensive style and the defensive pressure forced Golden State to 7 games to advance to the finals….how could that be if no one can beat Golden State…I mean if they were as invincible as the press and league loves to talk about then shouldnt they have went undefeated all season and playoffs as well…..yes ….they didnt though….the reason being…they do have weaknesses….shooting is not one of them…but outside of Clay Thompson and Green…..Durant and especially Curry can be soft on defense at times….Curry the most so and there is no excuse for that since he uses his speed to score so easy on drives on offense …yet that same speed he never use to out quick others to get steals more often….this is why Golden state is much much tougher on defense when Looney is in the game or a few other role players …because while their offense suffers….without as many dead eye shooters….their defense becomes so good they stifle other teams….Houston showed Golden state was not invincible …….Golden State had to sweat that series out…all that is forgotten after they won the championship again…however other GM's in the league have not forgotten that….and neither has head coach Steve Kerr who I am sure will be preaching defense to all the ears in practice this year he can get to listen to him. But this is why so many teams wont use classic big men..the NBA pushed and pushes for run and gun 3 point shooting….the press pushes teams to do it in the papers and online because the league tells them to…..its all about money….the league feels more money can be made off high scoring games….so if players want to dribble past half court and immediatly fire away constantly the league would be happy so long as they are making at least 30 percent of their shots…..to ensure this continues the league in summer league this year used shot clocks that reset back to only 15 seconds on offensive rebounds instead of 24 because they want to force teams to shoot again after getting offensive rebounds very fast so the score keeps going up instead of players passing the ball back out and setting the offense up again….the league doesnt want coaches to run plays…they want coaches to just let the players fire it up and encourage them only to shoot as quickly as possible once they get the ball inbounds…..to me and many others this actually has took a lot of fun out of the game and made it quite boring instead of more exciting…if I want to see guys shooting half court shots for 40 min I will go watch a high school game

  22. Damn I miss that era of NBA ball. When I was in High School, late '80s in Boston, all my friends played ball. I loved basketball. Too short and not good enough for the school team, but I played ball with my friends. I used the hook to surprise defenders and it pissed my friends off that I was using a Lakers move, but it was more like a near-ground hook than a skyhook, lol.

  23. Maybe because the league was lacking talented big men at that time. Dude looked like a high schooler playing with middle school students. If it was still affective somebody would still be using it and coaches would make kids practice it.

  24. I love Kareem's perspective on the game. These comments are what I hate about casual basketball fans and nostalgic fans. Let's go back to the late 70s, you have fans flocking to the ABA, because it's flashier with the dunking and 3 point shooting. Because, the NBA was boring. ABA folds, but NBA ratings are atrocious until renewed rivalry of the Celtics and Lakers with Magic and Bird, remember the East has about 4-6 of the same playoff teams and the West, the Lakers are the only team that is competitive annually in the West from about 1981-1986, no one complained about parity. The emergence of MJ came, as teams like the Pistons, Trailblazers, and Bulls started to compete for championship. The game started to slow down with emphasis on defense and the isolation one superstar offense. Fans complained the game was aboit selfish ball hogs,people sitting around watching one person score, too much dunking, and alot fighting and unwatchable basketball lacking offense. We get to 2000s, we start to see teams, like the Kings, Mavs, and Suns play a more European style of basketball-alot more emphasis on team passing and jump shooting with a few rule changes to help offenses. The era of isolation of one superstar scorer started to give way to the heightened team passing and scoring ability. But, also an increase emphasis on analytics and efficiency…but somehow that's bad. Also, there's not enough good teams anymore, not even half of the league's teams are competitive but that was the issue 70s -90s. Fickle fans.

  25. These are facts right here.giving credit were credit is due.i love it wilt but this one thing he found difficult to do.he did appreciate guys like Jordan but it was a forced appreciation

  26. Not to many players did the skyhook in Kareem's day either. Magic copied it but not on a regular basis. Most centers in Kareem's day did the jump hook. Little different shot.

  27. Because it's inefficient.
    There's no point in shooting anything but threes.
    You can thank the defense-killing rule changes for that.

  28. Ther are players like jokic , embiid or towns who can play with their back to the basket and be a threath from the 3p line … of course this guys have not mastered the hoockshot like kareem did but its interesting to see how this wil evolve , those guys are hybrids who mix their game with past and present . the big man game will come back more dominant then it ever was with these guys .

  29. yes but after its all over and done with he will not be in the top 5 scoring and will not have any of the other records Kareem has, 6 championships 2 teams plus he had the old fashion 3pt play 2and 1 plus the guy went on the bench in foul trouble , that strategy wins more championships

  30. Just put a bigger guy on curry to obstruct his view of the hoop, and play him tight,hes not gonna take you off the dribble..

  31. I mean he also developed that skyhook cuz they banned dunking in NCAA literally to stop Kareem (def racially motivated). Man he's so humble it's insane. This from a Celtics fan too lol.

  32. Perhaps he should keep talking about his insignificant sport instead of whining about how players in the NFL would be ''slaves'' while IGNORING SLAVERY IN muhammadanism ..

  33. Because of Kareem I learned the sky hook. It has served me well. Someday some other pro player will adopt it. It is truly an unstoppable shot.

  34. Individual talent can not be duplicated, skyhook is one dimensional move although very effective, but NBA today wants a player who is good at everything. That is why they get paid more today than the players of the golden days.

  35. Kareem just preached. It's so annoying seeing people shoot deep 3s in a game. Especially when so many kids that shoot like that can't shoot.

  36. Kareem is not really answering the question. Between his retirement and Curry's rise there have been many fine centers who have come and gone. And centers will never be three-point shooters.
    The question is: Why is Kareem the only player ever to have perfect the sky hook? Not the hook, the SKY hook?

  37. Kind of a cop out answer. There were periods in the nba after Kareem that had dominant big men. He didn’t answer why he didn’t think players like hakeem, Shaq, Tim Duncan, etc never mastered it. That’s what I’m curious about.

  38. The NBA game has evolved. The players are more skilled than ever. Centers are shooting the 3 pointer and putting the ball on the floor. Cousins is extremely gifted offensively.He can shoot the 3 and beat you off the dribble.

  39. I completely concur with Mr. Jabbar. I'd also add that one handed shots(outside of a layup under the basket) are extremely difficult to make anyway, even if you have large hands that can palm the basketball. But if you do, it can be a game changing offensive weapon. Trick is the hook shot is much like shooting free throws; you really have to work on the mechanics of the shot with disciplined repetition in order to make it consistently.

    I was one of the shortest and least athletic kids in my school growing up. But the one thing I had that helped me on the basketball court was my hook shot. I remember working on that shot for hours and hours until I became quite proficient at it. And I only did so after watching Kareem use it to destroy opposing NBA teams while making it look so cool and effortless in the process. I literally used to beat better players at H-O-R-S-E solely because I could make the hook shot consistently from distance and different spots on the court and they couldn't. But that was back then. The grownazz me can barely walk now…LMBO!!! Go figure. Much respect to the Captain.

  40. Even the GOAT acknowledged stephen curry. He said he never seen anyone shot like stephen curry. Wooahhh..100 3 points shoot practice, 92 get in with 77 in a row. What a god of 3 pointer stephen curry is

  41. It’s not just that Steph can shoot like that (so could Steve Kerr), it’s that he could shoot like that with a split second quick release, instantly after juking a defender back & forth from left to right, with defenders hanging all over him, etc. The famous line “All day!” There were a lot of incredible shooters in NBA history when they had ‘All Day’ to shoot. But Steph is a freak

  42. Curry is good on 3 point shoot but when he get upset he made so many mistakes that cost you championships and thats not good because youll keepit in memory after years youll remember and do same mistake besides playing physical its more gratefull that just shotting 3 points range shoots

  43. As a hooper, I think it’s key to work on everything as an all around player, if you can score in many ways, it’ll be hard for people at high levels to guard you

  44. it’s also hard because teams play zone now, if every team played man then it would be a different story

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