Basketball is an offensively minded game with a large focus on scoring. Even so, there are a wide number of ways to get the ball into the basket. That includes standard shots, layups, dunks, and a few more creative options as well.
This article covers one of those methods by looking at the fadeaway. By discussing the move, its history, as well as why it’s effective, the following paragraphs show its usefulness and how the maneuver became one of the most iconic shots of all time.
An Evergreen Move
When playing basketball, it doesn’t matter how someone scores. They can throw, lay, or toss the ball up at the hoop and if it passes through the rim, it counts. What makes the game so interesting is that every team, player, and offense seeks to score in a unique way.
Big men tend to dunk the ball or maneuver with a tricky post move, wings like to take traditional threes, while guards pull up for quick shots or drive into shifty layups. Still, there are a few constants throughout all positions. The fadeaway is one of them.
To shoot a fadeaway (also known as fall-away) a player needs to take a jump shot while moving or jumping away from the basket. That backwards momentum pushes them further from the hoop, but it also gets them away from the defender.
By fading away, a player can use their natural momentum alongside their body to shield the defender from being able to reach the ball. The shot is one of the hardest to block in all of basketball, which means it can be absolutely lethal in the right hands.
The Flaws of a Fadeaway
Many great players have strong fadeaways. Even big men can make use of them, as it allows them to get up a shot and not worry about other forwards or centers knocking it away. Still, the shot is far from perfect. There are plenty of reasons not to shoot one as well.
The fadeaway gets high marks for being unblockable, but it’s also one of the lowest percentage shots in the game. Moving away from the basket changes positioning and normal shooting trajectory. That then means the shooter needs to adjust to the change on the fly.
Not only that, but the shooter almost never has a good chance of getting their own rebound on a fadeaway. As such, it’s a hard-to-make shot that punishes the shooter for not being able to make it. Despite that, in the hands of a good player, the upsides outweigh the cons.
The ability to shoot over a bigger defender is invaluable, as is being able to iso when the opportunity arises. The fadeaway allows good players to take over games, and enables offenses to run a more spread pattern while a single athlete works one on one.
A Rise in Popularity
The fadeaway has been around for almost as long as basketball. It’s a natural way to keep the ball away from the defender, and it’s something that athletes like Wilt Chamberlain first came up with during the 60’s.
The move wasn’t a staple back then, but it did gain popularity as time went on. Though the shot is difficult, more and more players began to use it to great effect. The better someone got at the move, the less risky it became. Soon enough, all NBA players had some sort of fadeaway.
It then fully blew up during the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Though the fadeaway had been around for several decades at that point, it didn’t really explode until basketball became much more popular. The game gained speed in that time, and so did the superstars.
Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant both used the fadeaway with deadly precision. As they were the biggest players on the planet, their skills immortalized the move and made it one of the most popular shots moving into the new century.
More players tried it out than ever before, and plenty of rookies shot it at a high percentage. That then caused it to only get better and better. The less risk there was, the more offensives incorporated it into their arsenal.
In today’s game, most superstars have a fadeaway in their arsenal. They don’t shoot it all the time, but it’s a strong part of their game and something all defenders need to respect.
Few shots are as risky, and as iconic, as the fadeaway. It’s something that takes a lot of practice to master, but the payoff is incredibly high. It’s unblockable, hard to anticipate, and leads to easy points when done well.
The shot is difficult in nature, but that’s something all great players know how to mitigate through practice and sheer determination. It just takes a bit of extra work.