movers and snakers - Sports Illustrated Vault |
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movers and snakers


Pro basketball is a moving experience. To get free for a shot, to get a step on a defender, to draw a foul, you've often got to make the opponent think you're going one way when you fully intend to go the other. Down when you're going up. Up when you're going down. Left when you're going right. Anywhere when you're going to stand still. When a ballplayer puts a move on someone they say he "used him." When the move is extra "bad" (meaning good), they say he "used him like soap." The most audaciously saponaceous moves are performed so quickly or so subtly that it is often hard to figure out what happened. Using an ingenious new photographic process that he invented—and that he is keeping a darkroom secret—John Zimmerman has, in effect, frozen the moves (at least, frozen them to the consistency of a Dairy Queen) to reveal every twist and turn. Showing off on the following pages are four of the most elusive young pros: Tiny Archibald of the Kansas City-Omaha Kings, wily Willie Wise of the Utah Stars, Pistol Pete Maravich of the Atlanta Hawks—replete with his deadly new mustache—and Julius Erving of the Virginia Squires, the inimitable Dr. J., whose aerobatics have made him a sensation. Archibald (opposite) shimmies like a cobra on his way to the hoop and, obviously, he's got such extraordinarily fast hands that although he plays in the NBA he can steal the ball off an ABA court.

The deft, economical maneuvers of Willie Wise-be they head fakes or jukes of the shoulders and midsection—make him superb on the baseline.

It may look like madness—a behind-the-back cross-over dribble, a showy pass—but there's method in the manipulations of Pete Maravich.