Who Did Harden Break Ankles? Harden’s Crossroads

Jalen Rose

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Harden Break Ankles

James Harden, a prolific scorer and playmaker, has etched his name in NBA history not just for his scoring prowess but also for his ability to break defenders’ ankles with dazzling crossovers and hesitation moves.

Throughout his illustrious career, Harden has left a trail of fallen opponents, victims of his quick footwork and exceptional ball-handling skills. 

From devastating crossovers to step-back threes, Harden’s offensive repertoire has consistently kept defenders guessing. 

As a player known for his offensive wizardry, Harden’s ankle-breaking moments stand out as emblematic of his ability to create highlight-reel plays that captivate fans and leave defenders bewildered on the court.

What Is Ankle Breaker in Basketball?

An ankle breaker in basketball refers to a skillful offensive move, typically executed through a quick and deceptive crossover dribble. 

This maneuver is designed to deceive the defender, causing them to lose balance or stumble. The term “ankle breaker” vividly describes the impact, as a successful move can leave the defender’s ankles metaphorically broken due to the sudden change in direction. 

Such plays often result in the offensive player gaining a significant advantage, whether by creating space for a shot or driving to the basket. 

Ankle breakers are not only effective but are also celebrated for their flair and finesse in the realm of basketball highlights.

Who Did Harden Break Ankles?

James Harden is renowned for his exceptional basketball skills, particularly his ability to break defenders’ ankles with his signature crossovers. 

One memorable instance occurred in 2017 when he faced Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks. During this play, Harden isolated Porzingis on the perimeter, executed a swift crossover that caused Porzingis to stumble and fall, and then calmly sank a three-pointer. 

The sequence not only showcased Harden’s remarkable skills but also included a moment of boldness as he paused and stared at the fallen defender before making the shot. This play quickly became a viral highlight, circulating widely on social media.

In another striking display of his ankle-breaking prowess, Harden faced off against a participant at his own basketball camp in 2019. 

Demonstrating no mercy, he nutmegged the kid by dribbling the ball between his legs. Harden then continued the move with a crossover that led to the kid falling to one knee. 

The play concluded with a powerful dunk by Harden, leaving the young player stunned and embarrassed. This incident highlights Harden’s competitiveness and fearlessness, even in a lighthearted setting like a basketball camp.

Harden’s confidence and occasional arrogance contribute to his entertaining and captivating style of play, making him one of the most exciting players to watch in the NBA. 

His ability to break defenders’ ankles with his crossovers has become a trademark of his game, leaving a trail of memorable moments and viral highlights throughout his illustrious career.

Who Has the Most Ankle Breakers in NBA History

Ankle breakers are one of the most exciting and skillful moves in basketball, where a player uses a crossover or a dribble to make their defender lose balance or fall to the ground. 

There is no official statistic for NBA players with the most ankle breakers, but some players are widely recognized for their ability to perform this move on a regular basis.

Here are some of the candidates for who has the most ankle breakers in NBA history:

Allen Iverson

Most Ankle Breakers in NBA History

Known as “The Answer,” Allen Iverson was one of the most electrifying and skilled point guards in NBA history. 

His crossover dribble was legendary, and defenders often found themselves on the wrong end of a devastating move. 

One of his most famous ankle-breaking moments occurred during the 2001 NBA Finals when he crossed over Tyronn Lue and drained a jumper, immediately stepping over the fallen defender.

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving is widely regarded as one of the best ball handlers in the NBA. His mesmerizing dribbling skills and ability to change direction on a dime make him a constant threat to break ankles. 

Irving’s crossover and hesitation moves are particularly effective, and he has left many defenders grasping at air.

Tim Hardaway

Tim Hardaway, a five-time NBA All-Star, was known for his “killer crossover.” His crossover dribble was so quick and deceptive that it became one of the signature moves of his career. 

Hardaway’s ability to break down defenders off the dribble made him a constant offensive threat.

Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford is one of the most prolific and entertaining ball handlers in NBA history. His unique mix of handles, crossovers, and hesitation moves have made him a constant threat to break ankles.

Crawford, known for his scoring prowess, has crossed up numerous defenders throughout his career.

Chris Paul

Chris Paul, a maestro of the pick-and-roll, is also known for his exceptional dribbling skills. His crossover dribble and hesitation moves have consistently left defenders flat-footed. 

Paul’s ability to control the pace of the game and break down defenses has solidified his status as one of the best point guards in NBA history.

Stephen Curry

While Stephen Curry is primarily known for his shooting prowess, he is also an outstanding ball handler. His quick release and dribbling ability allow him to create space and break down defenders. 

Curry’s ankle-breaking crossovers, combined with his deep shooting range, make him a constant threat on the offensive end.

James Harden

The Beard is one of the most unstoppable scorers in NBA history, and his crossover is one of his main weapons. 

Harden can use his crossover to create space, draw fouls, or drive to the basket. He is also a master of the step-back, which is a variation of the crossover that allows him to launch his signature threes. 

Harden averages 25.1 points and 6.3 assists per game in his career, and is a nine-time All-Star, a scoring champion, and an MVP.

Benefits of Having Ankle Breaking Skills in Basketball

In the dynamic world of basketball, possessing ankle-breaking skills is akin to wielding a potent weapon on the court. 

The ability to break defenders’ ankles, marked by swift crossovers and nimble footwork, offers a myriad of advantages for a player. 

Not only does it elevate one’s individual offensive capabilities, but it also creates opportunities for the entire team.

Here are the key benefits of having ankle-breaking skills in basketball:

Create Scoring Opportunities

Ankle Breaking Skills in Basketball

Ankle-breaking moves not only provide players with openings to take high-percentage shots but also force defenders to commit, leaving them vulnerable to scoring drives or open jump shots. 

The ability to dismantle a defender’s positioning with a swift crossover or hesitation dribble can turn seemingly tight defensive situations into scoring opportunities, showcasing a player’s offensive versatility.

Drawing Defenders

Players proficient in ankle-breaking moves naturally attract defensive attention. As defenders focus on preventing the next highlight-reel move, offensive players can exploit the resulting imbalances. 

This heightened defensive focus opens up passing lanes, allowing players to find open teammates for easy baskets or kick-out passes for open three-point shots.

One-on-One Dominance

Ankle-breaking skills thrive in one-on-one situations. Players who can consistently break down defenders gain a significant advantage in isolations.

This skill set allows them to create space for their own shots, drive to the basket, or draw double teams, showcasing a player’s ability to take control and dictate the pace of the game.

Confidence Boost

Executing an ankle-breaking move successfully can inject a surge of confidence into a player’s performance. 

This newfound self-assurance often translates into improved decision-making, assertive offensive play, and the willingness to take calculated risks on the court. 

The confidence gained from breaking defenders down can positively impact a player’s overall contribution to the team.

Entertainment Factor

Beyond the strategic advantages, ankle-breaking moves contribute significantly to the entertainment value of the game. 

Fans relish the excitement of watching a player break an opponent’s ankles, adding a thrilling element to the sport. 

Players with the ability to captivate audiences through their dazzling dribbling skills become not only assets to their teams but also favorites among basketball enthusiasts.

Mismatch Creation

Ankle-breaking skills are potent tools for exploiting defensive mismatches. Players adept at breaking ankles can manipulate defensive switches, creating situations where they are matched up against less agile or smaller defenders. 

This strategic advantage allows for more favorable scoring opportunities and contributes to the overall offensive efficiency of the team.

Transition Offense

Ankle-breaking moves are particularly valuable in fast-break scenarios. Players who can navigate through defenders with speed and agility during transition plays can accelerate the pace of the game. 

This ability not only leads to increased scoring chances but also disrupts opposing defenses by forcing them to react quickly to a dynamic offensive threat.

Free-Throw Opportunities

The aggressive nature of ankle-breaking moves often results in defenders resorting to fouls to prevent a scoring opportunity. 

This not only adds points to the scoreboard but also places additional pressure on opponents. Players who can convert from the free-throw line capitalize on these opportunities, turning ankle-breaking moves into tangible scoring advantages.

Defensive Impact

While primarily associated with offense, ankle-breaking skills can have a positive impact on defense. 

Players who can anticipate and counter opponents’ moves effectively on offense are often more adept at defending similar actions on the defensive end. 

This heightened awareness and defensive proficiency contribute to a player’s overall versatility and effectiveness on both ends of the court.


Who Is the Best Anklebreaker in NBA History?

Allen Iverson is the best ankle-breaker in NBA history.

Which NBA Player Has the Most Ankle Breakers?

Players like Kyrie Irving and James Harden are renowned for their ankle-breaking abilities, but precise counts are not available.

Did James Harden Win MVP?

James Harden had not won an NBA MVP (Most Valuable Player) award.

Are There Instances Where Harden’s Ankle-Breaking Moves Led to Game-Changing Plays?

Absolutely, there are instances where Harden’s ankle-breaking moves have directly resulted in game-changing plays, whether through scoring opportunities for himself or setting up teammates for open shots.

Has James Harden Ever Crossed Up Elite Defenders in Crunch Time Situations?

Yes, James Harden has showcased his ankle-breaking skills in crucial moments, often using his signature moves to create scoring opportunities during high-pressure situations.

To Recap

In NBA history, James Harden’s mastery in breaking defenders’ ankles stands as a testament to his unparalleled skill and creativity on the court. 

The names of fallen opponents like Wesley Johnson, Brandon Knight, and many others echo through the years, etching Harden’s legacy as one of the most prolific ankle breakers in the game. 

His ability to leave defenders befuddled and audiences electrified has transcended mere highlights, becoming an integral part of his narrative. 

As the story of “Who did Harden break ankles” continues to unfold, it remains a captivating chapter, showcasing the dazzling artistry of one of basketball’s modern maestros.

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Jalen Rose

I am a sports analyst in USA and I have been writing about sports for more than a decade. My career started with writing about the NBA for my school newspaper. After that, I became the Sports Editor of my college paper, then the managing editor of my university’s official website. After graduating from college, I started working as an Assistant Sports Editor at the local newspaper in Atlanta. per. I've been there ever since and have had many opportunities to write about different aspects of sports journalism and interact with other writers and editors from all over the world. LinkedIn

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