Moses Malone calls Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's sky hook "the most devastating shot of all time."
Los Angeles Lakers Coach Pat Riley says it's "the most awesome weapon to ever come down the pike."
Magic Johnson says it's "unstoppable." Julius Erving says it's "automatic" and Bobby Jones says it's "impossible to defend against."
The sky hook is the primary weapon Abdul-Jabbar has used to become the second-leading scorer in the history of the NBA and it could be the single most-effective shot ever developed.
If the Lakers are to defeat the 76ers in the championship finals, which will be resumed Thursday at the Spectrum (WDVM-TV-20 at 9 p.m.), they are going to need plenty of sky hooks from Abdul-Jabbar. The 76ers lead the best-of-seven series, 1-0.
Bob McAdoo, Lakers' forward-center who missed the first game with a thigh bruise, said he will play Thursday, but doesn't know how effective he will be.
Cleamon Johnson, the 76ers' backup center and power forward, will not play. He has a urinary tract infection and even his status for the third and fourth games, Sunday and Tuesday, is uncertain.
Abdul-Jabbar said he first began shooting the sky hook in the fourth grade. "It just happened," he said. "It's the easiest shot for someone who's tall with little upper body strength. I just kept working at it and making modifications with it."
The beauty of the play of a Doctor J or a Magic Johnson is in their creativity. Not even they are sure about what they are going to do when they have the ball.
Abdul-Jabbar knows. He is going to shoot the sky hook.
"He created that shot and he's going to shoot it 80, 90, maybe even 100 percent of the time," said Erving. "I think it's unusual for a player to have one shot he shoots so often, but to say that all Kareem is is a sky hook is unjust. He does so many other things, too."
Malone, who is going head to head with Abdul-Jabbar in this series, said there is no way he can stop the shot.
Abdul-Jabbar had 20 points in the first game, but tired in the fourth quarter and missed four straight shots.
"When a guy is 7-4 and shoots a hook, you can't do anything about it," said Malone. "Why don't I have a sky hook? I'm only 6-10 and I'm not a finesse player. I have to use power."
There are many advantages to the sky hook: Abdul-Jabbar's range is up to 16 feet; he doesn't have to face the basket to shoot it, which makes it difficult to double-team him, and, because he is so tall, the Lakers can usually get him the ball whenever they care to.
He extends his right arm fully when he shoots and because of his height, and his body between the ball and the defender, it is almost impossible to block.
"The ball is usually on its way down when he releases it," said 76ers forward Bobby Jones, one of the premier defensive players in the league. "Even if you could block it, it would probably be goaltending. It is definitely the single hardest shot in the league to defend against.
"It is also so effective because Kareem seems to always be able to get himself into position to shoot it. He's always available."
Magic Johnson said that most players in the league have a pet shot, one they feel they can score with every time they get the ball.
"You can usually neutralize good scorers by taking away their best shot," said Johnson. "You can't take Kareem's away; there is no defense for it.
"He's so good at it because he has worked to make it better. Most big guys want to dunk instead of shoot hook shots."
Riley said the three days of rest between games has done wonders for his team and he expects a much different game from the 113-107 76ers' victory Sunday.
"We've made some adjustments and we're hoping they'll make a difference," said Riley.
Philadelphia Coach Billy Cunningham said Earl Cureton would back up Malone at center Thursday, but added that he would play Malone as many minutes as is practical.
"We want to go up 2-0. We don't want to get on the plane 1-1," Cunningham said. "They (the Lakers) would feel good with a split here, and we don't want them going home feeling good."