DALLAS — Dirk Nowitzki has been working on a sky hook in shot doctor Holger Geschwindner’s lab for more than a decade.
It’s a shot all-time scoring leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar made famous and fired effectively into his forties. But Nowitzki, entering his 17th NBA season, anticipates leaving his sky hook in the lab for at least one more year.
“The sky hook is still a work in progress,” Nowitzki said. “I might keep that for year 18. We’re still working on it.”
Nowitzki has knocked down a true sky hook or two in preseason games over the last few years. He’ll occasionally launch a running hook. However, he hasn’t gotten to the point where he feels comfortable swinging a sky hook after catching the ball on the block with his back to the basket.
“The sky hook is a tough shot, especially if you have no move, if you don’t come out of the rhythm and just turn around and shoot it,” said Nowitzki, who ranks 10th among all-time scorers, a mere 11,601 points behind Abdul-Jabbar. “That’s why no one else is shooting it like Kareem. I don’t know how he did it. That shot is unbelievable.
“Out of the move, it’s OK. Once I’ve got a running start, I can actually shoot it OK. The problem is I’m 36. I don’t get a lot of running starts anymore, so I’m screwed.”
Of course, the 7-foot Nowitzki has his own unique, virtually unblockable shot. The one-legged fadeaway has allowed Nowitzki to become one of the league’s most effective, albeit unorthodox, post scorers during the second half of his career.
Nevertheless, Nowitzki wants to expand his back-to-the-basket arsenal as he enters his NBA golden years.
“I don’t just want to rely on a fadeaway all the time,” Nowitzki said. “Sometimes you have to go middle, make a strong move there, get fouled or swing a little hook. I’ve just got to mix it up a little bit more than just a right-shoulder fadeaway all the time.”
So Nowitzki will keep working on that sky hook until he’s confident enough to use it in games or he retires, whichever comes first.