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February 06, 2008

How to shoot a skyhook ... after 50

Captainhook The 50-plus player can still run with a younger crowd at the park or fitness club, but it's best to avoid knocking around in the mosh pit under the basket. One trick the guys won't see coming? The skyhook. You don't have to be 7-foot-2: this is one of those rare times in life when someone says to you size doesn't matter  -- and means it.

Remember, the idea behind the skyhook is to always keep your body between the defensive player and the ball.

Step 1: Use both hands to tuck the ball under your chin.
Step 2: Step parallel to the basket with your left foot.
Step 3: Use your momentum from that step to launch yourself up into the air.
Step 4: As you rise into the air, turn to your left shoulder and extend the ball
over your head with your right hand.
Step 5: As you release the ball, aim for the center of the closest part of the rim, arching your shot so it will drop behind the rim.

Think of it as an athletic version of the Hokey Pokey: you put your left foot out, you bring your right arm up, you toss the ball in the hoop, then you shake it all about.

What makes this shot effective is that most young players have never had to guard against it, so you'll catch your opponent flatfooted. As the ball drops through the net with a satisfying swish, you can then walk away singing: "That's what it's all about!"

Click here to listen to what a skyhook sounds like

art credit: © Terry Smith, Terry Smith Creations 1993


KD Page

Regarding Andrew Bynum's swollen knee - do you know that DMSO gel that you get at the healthfood stores will reduce the swelling overnight?

Also, I just heard that they kept Mbenga for the rest of the season is it possible that you could work with him like you do Andrew and make him into a top center also?


50? The skyhook is a great shot for any player at any age. I remember back in the mid-70s when we moved from Los Angeles to North Dakota and I fired up a skyhook liked I had seen Kareem do all of those years at UCLA and in the NBA. Half of the opposing team tried to claim it was an illegal shot. LOL. I spent three years there and no one in our district could figure out how to stop it.
Its good to see you blogging here Kareem, nothing but the best for the NBA's best player of ALL-TIME!!!!!

Jon K.

So, I sure hope Bynum and Mihm (when they get better), Pau Gasol and Mbenga are drilling themselves daily with the sky hook.

A devastating weapon.



I'm 36, and I've been practicing the skyhook for years. Though I only get the occasional chance to use it in a game in an only a mild approximation of Kareem's style, it's not only satisfying to have been influenced by Kareem, even if it doesn't go in, it almost always gets a cheer from fellow players. I play against college kids a lot, and it blows their mind that someone would bust that out!
(You heard it here first - Kareem succeeds PJ as head coach of the Lakers!)

E Homp

Wow...thank you sir, for the instruction, and even more, the hokey pokey. I can't wait shake it all about, (I might even make one now)


my good pal T-Bee saw your skyhook as a high school player, said to herself -- I think I can master this shot -- and got a college education out of it!


Hey Kareem,

I grew up in Inglewood and met you when I was in junior high. You'd just been traded to the Lakers and you were very gracious.

I have a question. I always thought you were the perfect subject for Ernie Barnes. Has he ever painted you in action?


this is quite impressive!!!!! a sky hook? I've never heard of it. I'm new to this world of basketball. looking forward to reading more!
my son is 3. he has a HUGE fascination with playing basketball. our local community center hosts little hoops for the ages 5-9 group. my son keeps saying he wants to be 5 so he can play. awwwww...


I'm 5'4". Basketball just wasn't going to be my sport, but learning how to drop smooth as silk skyhooks with my 6'1" ex-college varsity basketball dad is probably the best moment the two of us ever had.

BTW - Love the blog.


excellent! since I saw it years ago, and thought it was a fabulous move. i usually just practice every now and then with crumpled paper and the wastebasket. now i will take it a little more seriously and get a proper nerf ball and practice, thanks!

josh penso

once again kareem abdul jabbar is showing his great ability to inform us all of important fascinating history that many of us did not know. i for one am very grateful to him for this. kudos to you kareem and best of luck on all future endeavors.

Tony de la Lama

As a great Laker fan starting in 1970 as a 13 yr old I really enjoyed the early Laker/Bucks games where Kareem and Wilt would face off. Geez, what great games! Wondering if you remember something that I'm pretty sure I saw happen during a game that I've never heard anyone comment on...

I don't remember the details of the game, but you were in the middle of the key launching your skyhook which as usual, was devastating the Lakers. But this time, Wilt jumped higher than I had ever seen and actually blocked the hook. The ball went back to you and you launch a left-handed hook which you did more often back then and....he blocked that one as well! Would love to get confirmation that what I remembered really happened. I've never seen anyone block the skyhook before or after. This was probably the 70-71 season.



The artist of that awesome painting of Cap has a website: Terry Smith Creations
no, I don't know him, but I was curious enough to do some digging for his site!

fred warrick

I'm 54-
I learned how to shoot a hook from Bill Russell on Red On Roundball-
still use, still works

The comments to this entry are closed.

Captain Kareem

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is considered by many fans and sportswriters to be the greatest basketball player of all time. The 7-foot-2 Hall of Fame center, famous for his indefensible skyhook, dominated the NBA for 20 years, first with the Milwaukee Bucks then with the Los Angeles Lakers. Before that he was the star of the UCLA Bruins teams that won three consecutive NCAA championships. Kareem was the NBA's MVP six times, a 19-time all-star and set the NBA all-time records in nine categories. He is the NBA's all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points, a record that may never be broken.

Since retiring as a player in 1989, Kareem has balanced his love of basketball with his love of history. In 2002 he led a USBL team, the Oklahoma Storm, to a championship. Since 2005, he has been the special assistant coach for the Lakers, working with Andrew Bynum.

In 2008 he was chosen The Greatest Player in College Basketball History.

Kareem also remains intellectually active, authoring six bestselling history books intended to popularize the contributions of African-Americans to American culture and history. His books include "Black Profiles in Courage: A Legacy of African-American Achievement"; "Brothers in Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion, WWII's Forgotten Heroes"; "A Season on the Reservation," which chronicles his time teaching basketball and history on an Apache Indian reservation in White River, Ariz.; and the current New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestseller, "On the Shoulders of Giants: My Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance."

His audio adaptation, "On the Shoulders of Giants: My Audio & Musical Journey through the Harlem Renaissance," is a four-volume compilation read by Bob Costas, Avery Brooks, Jesse L. Martin, and Stanley Crouch, and features private and fascinating conversations with dozens of icons, including Coach John Wooden, Julius Erving, Charles Barkley, Samuel L. Jackson, Maya Angelou, Quincy Jones and Billy Crystal. He has also been written to L.A. Times, under the Sports section.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been appearing on various radio stations and TV shows, as well as the most relevant websites talking about his life and his new audio book, On the Shoulders of Giants.

All images are property of www.iconomy.com unless otherwise stated. All info copyrighted and owned by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is not replicated without permission.

Come meet Kareem at the NBA Store on 5th Avenue: Friday, May 16th, from 3:15pm - 4:15pm.

Kareem_READ The American Library Association (ALA) is pleased to announce that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has joined the popular Celebrity READ poster series. The Celebrity READ poster campaign is one of the most effective ways to encourage people to get a good education, improve their reading skills, and to read for sheer enjoyment.
Mr. Abdul-Jabbar is the 2008 Honorary Chair Library Card Sign-up Month, which takes place in September. He will also appear at the American Library’s National Convention on June 28th and 29th at the Long Beach Convention Center to sign his poster.

To purchase Mr. Abdul-Jabbar's poster and to view the entire line of Celebrity READ Posters, please click here. now!

Kareem_jersey Join the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's Fan Club
and win a chance to receive a prize from my official store !

Go to KareemAbdulJabbar.com now!

ESPN names Kareem The Greatest Player In College Basketball History

Check the latest about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Go to KareemAbdulJabbar.com for more news.
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