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What happened to the hook shot?

by Brian Tyl | January 12, 2022 at 10:00 p.m.

I have covered a lot of basketball games, mostly high school, in my seven years as a sports journalist and something that I have noticed is actually the absence of something -- the hook shot.

Hoopsters, male and female, back in the day remember the ole hook shot. My mom was a starter on Redwater High School's varsity team and she used the hook shot.

I am not going to tell you what year that was or I will be in trouble. She also defeated me many times in the game "horse" using that darn hook shot. I could not make it.

Cliff Hagan (yes, a guy you probably have not heard of) excelled with the hook shot while at the University of Kentucky from 1950-54 and, after, in the NBA.

In his senior year of high school at Owensboro, Hagan led the team to state championship as he scored 41 points using the hook. He is known to have been so aware of where he was on the floor (due to the markings) that he did not even have to see the goal to sink a field goal.

Hagan has a lifetime average of 19.2 points per game over his three seasons with the Wildcats in college. He is also a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

The hook-shot artist was drafted by the St. Louis Hawks (old school NBA team before the move to Atlanta), was a 6-time All-Star and averaged 27.7 points per game in the 1957-58 playoffs to help lead the Hawks to a championship.

Hagan was proof that his perfection of the hook shot produced great success. A feature NBA Hall of Famer took notice.

Lew Alcindor, who would later become Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, began to learn the hook shot after being inspired by Hagan's success.

Abdul-Jabbar's famous skyhook helped lead him to an NBA-record 38,327 career points.

What happened to the hook shot?

Today's hoops is a game of perimeter-oriented basketball. The traditional pivot play style is a dinosaur. In today's game with sizeable, lengthy athletes and the top-notch athleticism they possess, it would be difficult to get off a hook shot without it being blocked or the ball being turned over.

The game is much faster now than it was 50 years ago. Players can utilize their speed to get around defenders and snap off quick shots.

I have researched it and these are the main reason why many players no longer use the hook shot. I think it is a beautiful shot, so if any player decides to perfect it, I will be taking notice.

Print Headline: What happened to the hook shot?


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