Step and Repeat



Basketball goes through phases. Every few years, it evolves, and what was once a new trend grows into a linchpin. Looking back, it’s difficult to recognize what some of the changes may have been because they’ve become so commonplace. The dunk, pioneered by Wilt Chamberlain, was a huge innovation. As were Kareem’s skyhook and Jordan’s fadeaway. The crossover, as further popularized by Allen Iverson, was the most recent thing to take the NBA by storm.

Now, it’s the Euro-step, and its revolution is being televised.

Sarunas Marciulionis, a Lithuanian native drafted in 1989, was one of the first Europeans in the NBA and has largely been credited with bringing the move across the Atlantic. It’s a beautiful move when executed properly, one that, when done with grace, can mimic a Waltz maneuver. After picking up the ball, you get two steps. Typically, players used those steps to continue with their forward momentum. The Euro-step, however, allows for a change of direction. Instead of taking two forward steps, the first step is an exaggerated step in one direction; the second is a near-return to the original path. It’s almost a lateral move. In a New York Times article about the move, NBA trainer David Thorpe made a great observation: “Americans tend to play in straight lines, where Europeans are craftier going around a guy.”

The biggest advantage is that it lets players avoid contact, which is what made the move revolutionary. In many ways, it has completely changed transition offense and dribble penetration. Players can no longer take charges! Instead, defenders are left completely frozen. While Marcilinois may have been the inaugural ambassador, the San Antonio Spurs’ Manu Ginobili truly popularized it, working the Euro-step to perfection for much of the past 10 years.

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  • Mr. Rager


  • Christian Castro

    the players i’ve seen best utilize the euro-step in the league is Manu Ginobili of the Spurs and Boris Diaw of the Bobcats …they use it about 2-3 times a game, it always looks a traveling violation but as i’ve seen used more and more its actually very effective due to its novelty as a part of American basketball

  • Booth Sundun

    I think Rondo walked. Via Heat fan.

  • Brian Morris

    dwayne wade does it the best that i’ve seen..manu’s can be more deceiving also cause he’s a lefty.

  • Bryan Payton

    As a Heat fan, I’m going to say D. Wade does it best. Great blog. I’m going to bring the move up in conversation with friends as we watch the playoffs.

  • donald roman

    the first person i’ve use the euro step was iverson. I went out and practiced it because i really didnt know how to slow down. check the tapes

  • sherief salem

    Great post…loving the blog as a whole. But c’mon man, if you’re gonna use someone’s name you gotta make sure you spell it right. Sarunas Marciulionis…I know it’s one letter, but I noticed it right away.

    A message from the “Keep the Life + Times spelling mistake free” coalition.

  • Btuuced Mkmkm

    Awesome play

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