Los Angeles Lakers rookie center Ivica Zubac is full of surprises. When the Lakers selected him with the 32nd overall pick in the NBA Draft, the big man had fans scrambling to YouTube looking to find out who he was. Just weeks later, those same fans were cheering “Zuuuuuu” every time he touched the ball, having already cemented his place as a fan favorite.
About a month ago, news began to spread that the talented Zubac was practicing Laker legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar‘s sky hook, which is considered to be one of the most unstoppable shots of all time. Lakers Nation’s own Ryan Ward caught up with Zubac recently at Lakers Media Day and asked him about why he decided to start working on the move:
“When I came here, Mitch Kupchak told me coach Bill Bertka was gonna do workouts with me”, Zubac Told Ward. “In our first instruction, we went to watch film of Kareem, and he told me “Can you shoot that? Can you shoot the sky hook?”…I was trying, sometimes I would make some shots. I told him I can make that shot. We started working that, and he saw that I can make that shot and he was really happy. He was so happy because he told me no one after Kareem did that shot. So we started working on that shot every day…you’re gonna see it, when the season starts.”
Zubac’s skill set truly is intriguing. He has a soft touch at the basket, the ability to protect the rim, and a solid outside shot (the video above even shows him knocking down corner threes). However, if he can truly revive the sky hook, he will shift from being a fan favorite to a local legend.
Abdul-Jabbar’s signature shot was as iconic as it was effective, but no one has been able to replicate it in the 27 years since Kareem last wore the purple and gold. The sky hook will forever be associated with Kareem, and that, combined with a steep learning curve, has dissuaded anyone else from consistently using it.
Now, Zubac says that the sky hook will indeed be part of his arsenal this season, and Lakers fans can’t wait to see it.