Throwing a basketball off the backboard to yourself is quickly becoming a loophole. The latest NBA player to do it was Tyrese Haliburton, and he didn’t even do it to throw himself an alley-oop. The Indiana Pacers point guard picked up his dribble, almost double dribbled and then threw the ball off the backboard only to catch it and fling out to an open Pascal Siakam for a wide-open three.
Siakam cashing the open three is akin to a player finishing a lob with a layup. I’ll admit that ooping it off the glass to yourself is a power move, and when done organically is a great highlight. However, recent instances of the play show players dribbling into trouble with no out but to attempt a poor man’s version of Tracy McGrady’s All-Star instant classic.
Maybe it’s because Chet Holmgren and Giannis Antetokuonmpo have been self-ooping since age 15, or the fact that Halliburton’s highlight resulted in an assist, because that moment of improvisation felt like a jazz student realizing, for the first time ever, that he could veer from the sheet music.
Do you remember when a between the legs dunk would guarantee a player a 50 in the dunk contest? That’s the point we’re at with this off-the-glass stuff as the degree of difficulty has eased, but fan reaction has not.
Indiana came out victorious, 125-111, in New York via a gratuitous use of a dated basketball move that should technically be traveling. Passing the ball to yourself without the use of a backboard is traveling 99 times out of 100, but the NBA needs viral clips to tout its impact. The more caps lock highlights the Association gets, the better.
However, this isn’t NBA Street Vol. 2. There’s no extra juice added to the special meter for going “Off the heezy,” and frankly if you ever toss the ball off an opponent’s face, be prepared to exchange blows.
Steph Curry, the last true original
Now, watch this beautiful, 100 percent unscripted dagger 3 from Steph Curry at the end of the Suns-Warriors to give Golden State and tell me self-oop is better than Chef Curry cooking up a W.
Curry got an errant, off-schedule pass only to pivot into a game-winner against Phoenix for a 113-112 win. There was no backboard to save him, just the slightest sliver of daylight to heave something at the basket, and the day that becomes routine in the NBA is the day I give all highlights a pass.
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