It is safe to say that we are all in love with Dirk Nowitzki’s one-legged Fat Joe “Lean Back” fadeaway that he’s used to dominate this postseason. We all practice our versions of Dirk’s shot when we play at open gyms, trying to figure out how to accurately shoot a one-handed shot with your right hand while jumping off your left foot and leaning right. We all look like idiots doing it.
It makes sense for us to be amazed by a shot like this. We don’t play professional basketball and are privy to replay after replay, reinforcing just how incredible some of those makes are, especially in slow motion. We’re simple humans, so this bit of magic is extra great to us.
But we’re not the only ones. Even the team that Dirk is facing in the Finals is in awe of this shot. From the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:
“That is something new. He has always made some awkward shots for a big guy, but that one-legged shot that is pretty much unguardable,” said Heat forward Udonis Haslem, who had success guarding Nowitzki in 2006 when the Heat beat the Mavericks to win the title.
“Probably the most unstoppable shot ever is the sky hook. I guess you put Dirk second,” [LeBron] James said. “You have a seven-footer fading away off one leg. There is no one that can block that shot.”
You know you’ve got something when two of the guys who are guarding you are admitting they aren’t going to be able to stop your go-to move. That’s quite the compliment. NBA players aren’t usually dying to fawn all over each other, so any time a guy’s getting dap from his opponents, that’s a pretty big deal.
Plus, it’s nice to get some affirmation from NBA guys. Of course we think Dirk’s shot is unblockable, but that’s the case with most shots we see every night. To hear LeBron James, a guy who is 6-foot-8 and jumps like Alpine ibex, say that even he can’t block it is crazy. If he’s not getting a hand on one of those shots, no one is.
So keep practicing. Just lean back, barely jump and shoot a basketball from way behind your 7-foot frame. Oh, and rarely hit the rim while making all your shots. Sooner or later, the best player in the world will grudgingly admit that you have an unstoppable shot. It’s that easy.