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The Greatest NBA Ball-Handlers Of All Time

Just in time for #NBAHandlesWeek
by John Paulo Aguilera | Aug 4, 2018
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It's time to take a break from what has been a roller-coaster offseason with "NBA Handles Week."

In an NBA TV feature, Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors was asked about his Mt. Rushmore of all-time ball handlers. The three-time NBA champion cited, "Myself, Kyrie (Irving), Pistol Pete (Maravich), and Magic Johnson."

While the inclusion of Magic on the list is debatable as he's more known for his "Showtime" passing, we can't argue with Curry's other three choices. What FHM can do is enumerate the NBA players whose unparalleled dribbling skills have shaped the league into what it is today, and let you decide which of them is the greatest.

P.S. This list would be for naught if streetball legend God Shammgod played more than 20 games in the NBA.

Pistol

Before there was Jason Williams and Kyrie Irving, Pete Maravich (Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans Jazz, Boston Celtics) was creativity and flair personified. Celtics Hall of Famer John Havlicek even described him as being "the best ball-handler of all time."

Zeke

His ridiculous handles are probably the most underrated part of Isiah Thomas' legendary game. At 6'1", the gritty point guard ran circles around opponents as the ringleader of the Detroit Pistons' '80s championship squad dubbed the Bad Boys.

Bug

Tim Hardaway, who during his time with the Golden State Warriors formed part of the team's '90s up-tempo offense aka "Run TMC" with Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin. His biggest contribution, though? The killer crossover.

The Answer

LeBron James called Allen Iverson "pound for pound, the greatest player ever" for a reason. AI mixed his uncanny knack for scoring with those deadly dribbling sequences, which he used to blow by his defenders and break their ankles.

White Chocolate

No other player has been more known for his passes than Jason Williams, who was a walking highlight assist reel. His no-look dimes, crazy ball-handling, and penchant for turnovers—at least early in his career—made up his flashy style of play.

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Although it took some time, Rafer Alston was able to translate his unorthodox streetball game to the pros. Unfortunately, he ended up as an NBA journeyman (player for six teams, with multiple stops in Toronto and Miami) for his erratic behavior.

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Newly crowned Teammate of the Year Jamal Crawford is going strong at 38 years old. Aside from knowing his role and doing it best, the three-time Sixth Man of the Year awardee also consistently puts on a timeless dribbling showcase.

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The two-time Most Valuable Player revolutionized shooting, unlike anyone who stepped on the court before him. But how did Stephen Curry free himself up for those unbelievable shots? A couple of screens and a whole lot of zigging and zagging.

Uncle Drew

Which current player can turn a soda advertisement into a viral sensation, then a full-length feature? Only Kyrie Irving.

 

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