Whether you like it or not, the NBA is the pinnacle of basketball. It’s the apple of the eye and captures the imagination of millions. More often than not, it’s these players who are emulated in driveways of the next generation of ballers. And, the moves of the present often become an ingrained part of the future.
But, while players constantly push the envelope of what is allowable within the framework of the game, the rules of the game still restrict just how creative players can get.
If you tried Lebron’s infamous “crab dribble” a few decades ago, you’d more than likely be seeing the bench for a while. Now, you see kids emulating it in the driveway, at the park, and even in organized basketball. Basketball is an ever changing sport that not only mimics what it has seen in its’ past, but allows for creativity to shape its’ future.
And, it’s not always the superstars who make the biggest changes. Lebron didn’t invent the “crab dribble,” nor was he the first person to carry the ball through the lane like a running back bursting through the line. But, he is the one to really popularize the moves.
James Harden, Dwyane Wade & Manu Ginobili didn’t invent the “eurostep.” Though, you can be sure that each player has picked up pieces from watching the others do it. The eurostep didn’t really exist until the 1990s. Yes, I said 1990s. It’s not a brand new move. Sarunas Marciulionas is given credit for introducing the move to the league as you can see here, he performs the move against the Seattle SuperSonics in the 1992 playoffs.
Personally, it almost shocks me that “Pistol” Pete Maravich didn’t try this in a game. (And, it’s feasible that he did, I don’t have all of his game footage.) But, one must remember the context of the game that he played in. A large portion of his career was spent with no three-point line and many players were rooted in “fundamentals,” it is more likely than not that Pistol Pete would have been called for a travel.
Also, basketball was a more physical game in the past. Or, at least more physicality was allowed without a foul being called. Now, the eurostep is a huge tool in the arsenal of increasing the aforementioned Harden, Wade and Ginobili’s ability to get easy points by getting to the foul line.
This explosion of eurostepping years after its’ introduction shows that the game takes time to evolve, and though the NBA may be the focal point of the world, it sometimes takes a global perspective to develop.
With this idea maybe one day, the Shammgod will catch in popularity. The move named after God Shammgod, has been used by some of the greats who have caught on to the eurostep like Ginobili and Chris Paul, but you can see Danilo Gallinari put it to use in summer league when first coming over from Italy. Basketball is now a global game, and its’ influence and impact can readily be seen in the development of moves and thinking about the game.
Special thanks to Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the BPL's Photosteam via Flickr for the heading image and to linasltu, BeatsBearsBattlestar, SlawMK and DannyCollaterali via YouTube for the videos.