No offense to Tim Duncan and his supremely fundamental bank shot, or Euro-step maestro Manu Ginobili, but the most iconic signature shot in Spurs annals belongs to George Gervin.
Ice’s finger roll is one of the most aesthetically pleasing moves in basketball history.
There was something immensely appealing about the way lanky Gervin loped through the lane and rolled the ball ever so softly off his fingertips.
It lacked the murderous intent of an Allen Iverson crossover, and didn’t quite inspire the same befuddled amazement as Dirk Nowitzki’s one-legged fadeaway, but Gervin’s finger roll was a force both admired and feared.
Gervin recently revealed he drew inspiration for the move from three Hall of Famers: Julius Erving, Wilt Chamberlain and New York City playground legend Connie Hawkins.
“I came up with Dr. J, he had those big old hands,” Gervin said on SiriusXM NBA Radio. “Doc had his own version of the finger roll. My hero was Connie Hawkins, who had those big hands, and he had his own version. And then you had the Dipper, you remember the Dipper. Wilt Chamberlain used to dip that thing in the hole.
“So, for me, I looked at those three guys, who all meant a lot to me, and I kind of developed my own way of finger rolling and made it famous.”
During halftime of the 1997 All-Star Game in Cleveland, Gervin found himself alongside Erving and Chamberlain as the NBA announced its 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.
“I remember in 1997 when we became the 50 Greatest and I was sitting at the table with all those guys,” Gervin recalled. “Wilt came to me and said, ‘Ice, you stole my finger roll.’ Then Dr. J said, ‘No, you took it from me.
“I said, ‘Hey guys, I took a piece from each one of you and I just made it famous.’”
Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.