Note: I know, I know. We're all a little crab-dribbled out. But now that everyone's finally spoken their peace and the fervor has died down, I wanted to get everything down for posterity's sake.

crab dribble (krab drib'-uhl) noun. A hesitation dribble that is used to effectively mask a traveling violation. Depending on the situation and/or the player involved, the violation may or may not be called.

Usage example: No, no, no, dude. I didn't travel. I used a crab dribble.

Word history: Crab-Dribblegate began after what should have been a standard, run-of-the-mill regular season game between the Cavaliers and Wizards. But then -- shock of shocks!! -- the mighty LeBron James got called for...wait for it...traveling.

LeBron, not surprisingly, was displeased with the call. And, in trying to articulate his displeasure, he made postgame complaint history. "Bad call. We all make mistakes, and I think I got the wrong end of the bargain. I watched it 10 times after the game, and it was clearly a good play. You have your trademark play, and that's one of my plays. It kind of looks like a travel because it's slow, and it's kind of a high-step, but it's a one-two just as fluent as any other one-two in this league. I got the wrong end of it, but I think they need to look at it -- and they need to understand that's not a travel. It's a perfectly legal play, something I've always done.

"I don't know what [the official] said I did. I was trying to get an explanation from him but he ended up running to the other side of the floor. It was a bad call. Like I said, I watched it in the [locker] room. I took a crab dribble, which is a hesitation dribble, and then two steps. Everybody, you call guys can watch it. The bad part about it was I was able to finish at the rim with contact, so it would have been a three-point play. So it's tough.

"What happens is when you take a crab dribble and you hesitate, that is not one step, because you still basically have a live ball. And then when you go into your one-two that's when the steps get counted. So if you look at the play, I take a crab dribble and find a crease and then I take my one-two. So it's a perfectly legal play, something I've always done and always been successful with."

This attempt to justify a pretty blatant traveling violation not only reset the high bar for indignant and semi-delusional rationalizations, it also created a new term that, as it turns out, wasn't really new at all (more on that below). It also amused the heck out of the Wizards who, as we all know, have been victimized by non-calls on LeBron before. Washington interim coach Ed Tapscott said : "I'll have to check in my book to see what a 'crab dribble' is. I'm not quite sure. I do know that we don't seem to get away with very many of them, whatever they are." When asked if he knew what a "crab dribble" was, Antawn Jamison said: "I know what a traveling is. I think we all know what traveling is." In response to the same question, Caron Butler added: "'Crab dribble' is when you, uh, travel. That's the hottest thing on the market right now.: He further explained that, in performing the crab dribble, LeBron changed his pivot foot. Said Butler: "I couldn't do it in AAU, I couldn't do it in college. And obviously I can't do it now."

Things didn't end there. Even two days after the fact, "King Crab" still couldn't stop trying to acquit himself of traveling: "I've done that move plenty of times and I believe it's a good move. If they called it more consistently, then I guess it ain't a good move then and I'll change my game. But it's not called consistently." To recap: He admitted taht he traveled but felt entitlted to do so because traveling isn't called consistently. Okay, got it.

Of course, LeBron couldn't resist making a dig on everybody who's been calling him out since Crab-Dribble Gate: "Everything I do is a big deal. It's easy for people who don't play the game of basketball to say something about a certain move. You hear all the people on SportsCenter talk about it, but they've never touched a basketball in their lives. They just report about it." Oh, snap! But he's totally right. It's impossible, even with the benefit of slow-motion replay, for a non-basketball player to count the number of steps somebody takes on their way to the basket. Somebody better tell The Count on Sesame Street about that. He's been wasting his time teaching kids to count all these years. What he should have been doing was handing them a basketball.

For the record, Bill Spooner -- the official who penalized King Crab -- explained his call in an e-mail: "3 steps on the move to the basket. Basic travel call."

Despite all the hubub, LeBron was fairly chill, and seemingly unconcerned if his trademark move becomes the target of more consistent officiating. "If they take it away like they've done before with the hop step, I'll find a way to do something else. How have I fared after that? I'll be fine if they take this away, too."

Now, most people -- myself included -- had never heard of a crab dribble and assumed that LeBron had simply made it up. But, surprise, he did not! It's an honest-to-goodness move taught by basketball coaches. No, really. Only -- sorry, LeBron, it doesn't mean you get to take an extra step or two. So what, then, is it? According to Mike McNeill, Director of Coaching Development for Basketball BC: "The most overlooked dribble maneuver is what is called a crab dribble. What is a crab dribble? It is when the dribbler has their back to a defender and dribbles the ball between their feet with step-slide footwork."

Crab dribble illus

According to McNeill, the purpose of the crab dribble is three-fold:

1. To protect the ball by keeping the body between the defender and the ball. It is the most common dribble used by post players; the back-down move that is so common is a crab dribble. For perimeter players it is especially effective when the dribbler is bringing the ball up-court against an extremely quick, ball-hawking defender.

2. To set the pace at which the ball is brought up the floor. Often the coach will instruct the ball-handler to slow the pace of the game down, but if the dribbler is being pressured, the only way to relieve pressure is to attempt to go by the defender.

3. To change sides of the court when being pressured, without exposing the ball to the defender. This is usually done with a spin dribble but may also be done with a pop back move and then a change of hands dribble (crossover, behind back, between leg).
And here, courtesy of Deadspin, here's a video of the crab dribble drill. Note that, in the non-LeBron version shown here, actual dribbling (and not traveling) is involved.

In this video, NBA expert Jalen Rose explains the crab dribble and how it had nothing whatsoever to do with what LeBron actually did (which was to travel).

And, finally, a videographic parody, courtsey of didntdrawiron (via chris).

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
Sasha Vujacic is hot trash. That's all the input I have.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I have always understood the "crab-dribble" to be defined as it was at the bottom of this post. Back-to-the defender dribbling, using the body to protect the ball.

As for LeBron's counting skills, well, at least King James is better than King Arthur:

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Every time I think of crab dribble I keep remembering this old classic flash video. Only now I imagine James's face on Snake and he's saying CRAB DRIBBLE instead.

WotN honors goto Oklahoma, who'll probably idiotically fire Stoops cause they're all crazy, and to FootBawful for not updating during a brilliantly Bawful post-season/bowl season, so I make football related comments here.

Blogger Tonewise said...
best comment from that video is as follows:

csibil (3 days ago)
LeBron mixed this up with the other rarely known "Crab Travel"...

Blogger Lord Kerrance said...
Woot to that. I don't even like football (by that I mean I'm a Packers fan) and I sorely miss my double-dose of Bawful. Although the rediculousness of the NBA right now almost makes up for it. Almost.

Blogger Victor said...
They haven't called traveling for at least a decade. Why did they bother to start then?

Also, that youtube video deserves one of these:

Anonymous Anonymous said...
so kind of like a forward post up? I use this alot. Didn't know it had a word for it

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I'm not sure that's the right definition. Basketball camps will teach it as a legit, legal move, not to mask a travelling call. Unless you're talking about the term as one strictly referring to LeBron, then I don't think it works.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Nevermind, my bad. I should read the whole post next time.

Blogger chris said...
Bawful, here's a rather epic parody 'toon on YT that NEEDS to be up on this post. ASAP.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
The crab dribble was perfectly fine, but the dude when on Australian-worthy walkabout after that. He would have been fine if he took a shot after that little hop, but then he takes a whole additional step.

Glad they finally called him on it. Dude travels all the time.

"As for LeBron's counting skills, well, at least King James is better than King Arthur:"

I LOLed :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Oh wow-

"18 tiny crab steps = 1 step" LOL!!!

"Perfectly Legal!!"

Blogger lordhenry said...
"I rest my case, Dude's traveling."
Sorry, I just can't get enough of making fun of that lebron commercial from awhile back. It's like bawful saying, "they are who we thought they were," Unhealthy? Maybe.
I like how Lebron uses a little heard of name for what he did, and then comes back a day or two later with the "well, if they called it more often I wouldn't feel like I could get away with it," defense.

"Haha, you even look ugly when you travel, Lecrab!" Roars Lord Mamba as he watches highlights on his patented Kobetron 5000. The Sith Lord quips to Lord Vega, "when I travel and don't want to get caught, I use my force powers, not a dumb excuse!"

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I just turned on this internet thingy; and...


What in the hell is Orlando doing to the Hawks? Anyone watching this? Are the ATLiens playing with only 3 on the court or something?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
lordhenry, did Mamba name Gasol, "Lord Vega," because of the Street Fighter II character? You know, the Spanish guy who wears a mask and talons...

Please tell me this just a wonderful coincidence. Afterall, Pau looks like a hideous bird-man who really ought to have talons and REALLY should be wearing a mask.

UPDATE: I looked up Vega on Wikipedia, and they said, "Vega wears purple and yellow ceremonial trousers." Sadly, there is digression: Street Fighter Vega's mask is worn to protect his beautiful face (rather than to hide the ugly one).

P.S. You did say that Lord Vega is Pau, right?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
'bawful, thank you for those glorious videos of Vujabitch. He is the biggest flopper in the league. I actually try to like the Lakers. please don't ban me from the BasketBirdful world for this; but, Magic Johnson's my favorite player ever.

The Bluntana fam are Lost Angels from birth; so, there's always a place in my heart for the Lakers. I can't even hate on Kobe (no matter how ugly his kids are).

But, Sasha needs to really have the crap kicked out of him. It's more annoying when it looks like he's getting the crap kicked out of him; but, he's not - because he's flopping.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Man, I'm starting to feel like the guy at the end of the night who's too much of a loser to be allowed a drink at the party. Everyone else is passed-out; and, I'm trying to talk to them. Then, by the time they wake up, it's all irrelevant, anyway.

I should start leaving comments on archived posts from a couple years ago...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
orlando just molested a top 5 east team like they were drunken hookers

Blogger chris said...
And, in response to Portland's whining and moaning...

...the Grizzlies have gladly reacquired Darius Miles for more cap-eating trillionation!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Watch this video Bawful it will almost make you love the Lakers not the current Lakers nothing could make me love them.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Thanks to Clifton and the Filthy Logician, I did a google image search for "mike dunleavy junior." This is the first photo that came up:

I think he looks more like a speed bump... but then, I wouldn't want to be trampled by Ronny Turiaf, either.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
holy crap...

then, there's this one:

...where amazing happens.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Boozer knows what crab dribble is: (at 1:17 mark)

Anonymous Anonymous said...
According to the highlights of the philly-atlanta game, m. bobby had 22 pts, 8 ast and 4 reb for the hawks.

marc bobby, that is.

btw, a very rare BEST of the night goes to shaq, for hittin all five of his ffreethrows.
suck it, dwight.
oh, they played the clippers?
ok, forget it.

Blogger OneManRevolution said...
Why do the Warriors get to keep their "d"?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Apparently, the game between Orlando and Atlanta was so loopsided because Orlando had 6 starters.
Don't believe it? Here:

The 7th paragraph

Anonymous Anonymous said...
How 'bout renaming them the Cleveland Crabaliers? :P

Blogger Lord Kerrance said...
Howzabout this quote from Chris Bosh regarding Ray Allen's 3 point performance:

"''He hit a couple of wide open shots, but I don't know how much better you can defend some of them,'' Bosh said. ''When a guy goes 8-for-10 from the three-point line, that's pretty abnormal.''"

So 8-for-10 is abnormal, but better defence is not the answer. Maybe Bosh really does want to go to New York in 2010 -- he'd certainly fit in with D'Antoni's defensive schemes.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Quote from Frosty: "Cleveland Crabaliers"