On The Playground, Handle Was Everything…

In Basketball
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I’m from Philadelphia, PA. I played basketball. And I was a teenager in the 1990s.


Which means, I was developing my game when Allen Iverson was The Man not only in Philly, but in the entire basketball world. 

Every one of us was practicing the crossover, trying to perfect the move and use it in a pickup game. 

If you were playing ball at that time, you remember: we valued a successful crossover move equally to scoring actual points. Even if you’d missed the shot, crossing someone over was a player’s personal highlight of the day. The last thing you wanted was to get crossed over and have all the spectators laughing at you.

I never quite mastered the crossover back then; my body grew and I was a pretty good outside shooter so I paid less attention to dribbling and more to those other skills. I could help a team with that alone. 

By around age 16-17, I’d developed a solid enough handle that I got to utilize my best basketball skill, which was my budding (and eventually pro-level) athleticism. That athletic ability got me on teams in high school, college and the pros. 

But one of my college teammates re-sparked my interest in the crossover. 

Wes had transferred in during my junior year, and his whole game was built around his handle and quickness. 

Wes was crossing players all over the gym everywhere we played. Nobody could stay in front of him off the dribble. 

While people admired my athletic ability, Wes and his crossover had even more fans than I did: most people would never dunk a basketball — but anybody could learn to dribble. 

Ball handling skills were seen as attainable. 

One day I told Wes that he HAD to teach me that crossover move so I could add it to my arsenal.

He promptly gave me a demonstration, breaking down every element of the move. 

The non-dribbling hand. Positioning of the feet.

How to move the head and shoulder.

Dragging the back foot.

How to transition from the move into a pass, drive or shot. 

I took that demonstration and ran with it, to the point that I never had trouble creating my own shot off the dribble against anyone. 

As long as I stuck to the principles Wes had shown me, the move always opened things up for me. I could either create space, drive past someone, or back them off enough to pull up for a shot. 

And, as I spent more time in the gym, I created more and more combinations and options for utilizing the cross and the threat of my drive or my shot. 

I put all of that together into the Allen Iverson Signature Workout Program, which you can get here: http://HoopHandbook.com/Iverson

#WorkOnYourGame

-Dre Baldwin

Remember: You’re Just One Bold Move Away…

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