Mt. Rushmore is often referenced in basketball discussions and when it is, it’s often referred to as the four best at a specific topic. The discussions are usually subjective because often people choose their favorites but it makes for a fun debate.
During the NBA’s Handle Week, Stephen Curry gave his Mt. Rushmore of ball-handlers during a discussion with Steve Smith:
“Myself, Kyrie (Irving), Pistol Pete (Maravich) and Magic Johnson.”
Not a bad list if you ask me.
Pistol Pete is a ball-handling legend. If you walk into any camp right now, more likely than none, they’re doing Pistol’s famously known ball-handling circuit that has been carried down over the years.
What bad can you say about Magic? He put the “Showtime” in the Showtime Lakers. He was a rare breed being able to handle and pass the ball at his size. His style of play is the reason we see a lot of “point forwards” in the game today.
Then you have Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving. In my opinion, the two best ball handlers that we have in the game today. All ankles are at risk when attempting to defend these two. Irving just does a remarkable job at breaking down his defenders understanding angles and change of speed to get wherever he wants on the floor.
His season might’ve been cut short by injury, but Kyrie still balled out in his first year as a Celtic. pic.twitter.com/yxQgofBOog
— Basketball Society (@BBallSociety_) August 1, 2018
Curry is similar at that as well being that he does a great job using his handles to create the right amount of space he needs to get off a shot. Curry doesn’t show off too much when it comes to his handle but don’t let that fool you because he can put guys in a blender (i.e. Rudy Gobert) or drop a defender as well (i.e. Chris Paul). Curry even influenced fans to come to games early just so they could watch his two-ball handling warmup.
If you were to ask me, my Mt. Rushmore of ball-handlers would be very similar to this list. Again it would include Curry and Irving because those are two of the best that I’ve seen. My other two choices would be Jamal Crawford and Allen Iverson. Crawford has been an NBA journeyman and has made his impact on multiple teams. 18 years in and he’s still one of the hardest guys to guard in the NBA. He’s so shifty with the ball and because he has such a tight handle, he creates a lot of deception.
I don’t think anyone that grew up in my era would dispute Iverson. The guy was known for his killer crossover. He constantly had defenders on the floor which led to him getting many buckets during his career. Not to mention, he did cross Michael Jordan… I’m just saying.
Basketball has seen a great display of ball-handlers. Men and women who have had the ability to do amazing things with the basketball. If you were to pick your Mt. Rushmore of ball-handlers, who would be on it?