Handle The Truth And The Rock

There are many reasons that the game of basketball has become the second most popular game in the world, trailing only soccer. Factors like low cost to participate and easy access to basketball courts help that cause. The ability to enjoy the game alone or in a group also play a part in the game’s popularity. The most important of the factors is the aesthetic value when watching the game being played. While shooting the ball and passing are important, the most loved of the offensive fundamentals is dribbling the basketball. 

Great ball handlers in the game have always been important to the art of the game. In fact, it’s probably the key to being recruited and actually playing at the player’s next level. We’re seeing an influx of extremely tall players with a handle as well as guards. In the 1950’s Bob Cousy of the Boston Celtics was considered the premier ball handler in the NBA, so much so that he was given the first basketball shoe deal by PF Flyer.


Bob Cousy was one of the best dribblers and ball handlers. He also had a signature shoe.  

The biggest influence on dribbling the ball came in New York City’s 1970’s basketball scene at the Holcombe Rucker Summer League. Players Like Earl “The Pearl” Monroe who played for the New York Knicks, probably had the first real handle on the basketball. He mastered the behind the back dribble. This movement gave way to Kenny Anderson, Jason Williams, Allen Iverson, Stephon Marbury, and Kyrie Irving. 

While handling the ball is important, over-handling the ball can set the game back. In the late 90’s And 1 developed mix tapes of players traveling the country playing basketball. The most popular of the players


Earl “the Pearl” Monroe was also called Black Jesus on the basketball court for his wizardry.

were Rafer “Skip To My Lou” Alston, Philip “Hot Sauce” Champion and Grayson “The Professor” Boucher, all of whom are great ball handlers. This created a movement of dribbling that was cool to look at but, not effective in real game action. Refer was able to grow into an excellent college player and NBA veteran without over handling the ball. Outside of him, very few of the players that were apart of the AND 1 mix tape scene had success in organized basketball past high school.

Dribbling the basketball should be done with true purpose, and most times should be the last option of the triple threat or “GO” series movements players use. Beating a defender, relieving pressure and creating an opportunity for a shot (either for yourself or a teammate) are why you would be dribbling.

Younger players have the tendency to become ball-stoppers know as a basketball player who gets the ball and holds or dribbles for a long period of time. These players can become stars but, most often are considered selfish and difficult to play with.

The biggest influence on dibbling the ball came in New York City 1970's basketball scene Holcombe Rucker Summer League.

It can be difficult to determine when and where to use the dribble.  Dribbling should also be used to make the game enjoyable for all players on the basketball court. There is only one ball for five players to share, and the truth is, not everyone needs to handle the rock.

Randy Holcomb

Randy Holcomb

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