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The Taxonomy Of Zion’s Blocks

Because someone had to do it.

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Army v Duke
Zion Williamson demonstrating his mastery of the Crane vs. Army’s Josh Caldwell.
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

When the late Darryl Dawkins burst onto the NBA scene as one of the first one-and-doners back in the 1970s, he was wildly exuberant, claiming to spend his off-seasons on the Planet Lovetron where he studied interplanetary funksmanship.

It’s a good thing somebody did it because where would be without that? Frankly we could use some of that about now.

The massive big man, who broke enough backboards to lead to the breakaway rims we know and love today, took to naming his dunks things like “The Chocolate-Thunder-Flying, Robinzine-Crying, Teeth-Shaking, Glass-Breaking, Rump-Roasting, Bun-Toasting, Wham-Bam, Glass-Breaker-I-Am-Jam.”

Zion Williamson is not quite as colorful but he’s a lot of fun too and incidentally weighs at least 20 lbs more than the massive Dawkins did so maybe he’s not as massive as he seemed at the time.

Williamson isn’t naming his blocks and if he did we suspect the staff would discourage him from doing so.

But we can!

So we’ve identified a few particular types of blocks we’ve seen from Williamson at least once. We’ll add to this as time goes on.

  • The Snatch and Grab. He whipped this one out on Kentucky’s Nick Richards, simply running towards him, leaping up and taking the shot away in mid-air and heading the other direction. As a bonus he hit RJ Barrett with a flawless bounce pass for a layup. What could possibly be more dispiriting than a Snatch and Grab?
  • The Threeject. He’s blocked enough three pointers to require a name and it’s not like he’s starts off in someone’s face. Typically he rushes in and gets the shot fairly high up. It’s incredible to watch. The Threeject may be our favorite.
  • The Ambush. He gets these typically when he’s following some unsuspecting sap on the break. The guy goes up for what he thinks should be an easy basket only to find Zion a foot and half over his head. Denied!
  • The Crane. Why the Crane? Look at one. We’ve seen Williamson, more than once, block a shot with his arm straight out. He can do that because he’s so much higher than his victim. Just look at the picture with this story.

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