NBA

The 10 Best Handles In NBA History

With point guards for the Cavs and Warriors leading the way, we’re entering a golden age of ball-handling rivaled only by the Army doctors at Fort Bragg when they have to give rapid-fire physicals. The AND1 era has produced some incredible dribblers, but we haven’t forgotten about the old school guys — here are the top ten handles in NBA history…

Honorable Mentions: Allen Iverson, Kemba Walker, Nate “Tiny” Archibald

Allen’s crossover was the filthiest of all time, and that includes our intern Dave’s Kia Sportage. Kemba doesn’t get enough love for his dribbling because he plays in a small market, but his shakes are stellar, and Tiny Archibald might have cracked this list if his YouTube highlights weren’t total crap. If you think Archibald should’ve cracked the top ten, don’t blame us, blame the internet…




10. Bob Cousy

Cousy brought a panache that made him stand out in the 1950s and juked defenders without the benefit of today’s lax double-dribble rules. The NBA’s first “flamboyant” point guard, Cousy handled Spaldings with mastery and could hold his own against the best of any generation…

9. Chris Paul

CP3 isn’t quite on the same level as some of his peers, but that doesn’t mean the Clippers’ primary lob floater isn’t one of the best of all time. In an era of intricate step-backs, splitting double teams, and crossing over big men on switches, Paul is as skilled as they come…




8. Isiah Thomas

The 5’9 Isaiah Thomas (with an extra “a” in Isaiah) gets all the love these days, but the greatest Pistons point guard of all time had the best handles of any IT in league history…




7. Earl “The Pearl” Monroe

Monroe’s teammates at John Bartram High in Philadelphia called him “Thomas Edison” because of all the moves he invented on the playground (we prefer “Nikola Tesla,” but we’ll let it slide). The Knicks legend was actually at his quickest on the Baltimore Bullets — where he played he first four seasons — and routinely embarrassed opposing defenders with a series of spins that could make Whirlpool jealous…

6. Jason “White Chocolate” Williams

White Chocolate turned the ball over on occasion and wasn’t the sharpest of shooters, but dude could handle the rock like Marlo Stanfield. He’d be higher on the list if his practice handles could translate to the NBA




5. Rafer Alston

The man whose ball-handling brilliance spawned AND1 mixtapes, Rafer “Skip 2 My Lou” Alston is the only modern streetball legend to carve out a career in the NBA, averaging ten points and five assists over parts of 13 professional seasons. Alston toned down his playground wizardry in the league, or else he might have been No. 1 on this list…




4. God Shammgod

Kenny Smith says Shammgod had the best handles of all time, and while we respectfully disagree, the former Providence star definitely has enough shakes to satiate a late-night In-N-Out line. God only played three seasons in the NBA (all with the Wizards), but enjoyed a lucrative career overseas in China…

3. Pete Maravich

The Pistol had the ball in his hands more than anyone else, and rightfully so: he had more handles than an Ikea dresser. That being said, Maravich was at his most brilliant in transition, whereas the final two guys on this list could create space anywhere, including the pit of a Justin Bieber concert…




2. Steph Curry

Steph’s obviously got a stroke that rivals Picasso, but his handles have really set him apart over the last five years. The Warriors star is a master of creating space with Fred Astaire-esque footwork and dribbling sequences more intricate than one of Mayweather’s ten-punch combos. The old timers are great, but none of them are better than Chef Curry and…

1. Kyrie Irving

We’ve watched hours upon hours upon hours of tape researching this piece (we have no friends, thanks for the reminder), and Kyrie is the clear-cut No. 1 of all time. It’s not just his insane amount of skill, but the consistency with which Irving creates highlight-reel plays maneuvering through traffic like a veteran motorcyclist in rush hour. There really aren’t enough GIFs to do the man justice. The incredible thing is that Kyrie just keeps getting better, as evidenced by his Game 4 takeover against Boston in the Eastern Conference Finals. It’s not an exaggeration to say the man yo-yo’s harder than Duncan…

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