Kenny Sailors' Jump Shot


I developed my jump shot to get up and over my brother who was 5 years older than me and he was 6' 5" in height and I was probably 5' 8". Bud was a good high school ballplayer and made the BB squad at the University of Wyoming, but had to drop out because it was too hard trying to go to school and practice BB during the day and driving taxis at night up to 1 or 2:00 in the morning. These were tough times during the Great Depression. Bud finally quit school and joined the Air Force which he made a career out of and was discharged after 20 yrs an eagle Colonel.

When I shot my jump shot after much experimenting and over the years I had developed it to the point where by my senior year in college I could shoot it from as far back as the top of the key out of the dribble. In the NBA I was able to do this from a standing position, but I shot my jump shot from anywhere on the floor. I could shoot it from the corner, the side, or out in  front. A lot of my shots were only out 8-10 or 12 feet. I would get by my defense from in front or the side, take a few dribbles and jump. Players need to do this more today - shoot their jump shot from 6 feet out to the top of the key. Young players need to start out developing their jump shot from a few feet out from the basket, or they will develop bad habits that will have to be broken by some coach.

When I shot my shot out of the dribble I could get much more height - maybe 36 inches - than I could from a standing position. But there is also a danger of drawing an offensive foul if you don't learn to control your forward movement and put your jumping effort into going up instead of forward.

I don't use the upward momentum of my body to shoot the ball. The shooting takes place after you have reached the top of your jump and before you start down. I try to bring the ball up my right side to protect it from the defense to the point where it is directly over my head, a little to the front, and probably 3 to 4 inches off my head. When I release it I'm squarely facing the basket with both feet off the ground. The rest of the shot is just like you're shooting an outside shot and all wrist and fingers. Make sure your feet hang straight down for balance.


Johnny Adams "Jump Shot"

I only played against Johnny Adams once and this was my sophomore year. I was with Wyoming. Johnny played for Arkansas. We were playing them in the NCAA Tournament. I believe Johnny didn't have a jump shot. His shot was what Ray Mercer of DePaul called a "step and shoot" right out of the dribble. Johnny was a great ballplayer and hard to stop. He was Arkansas' best player.


Hank Luisetti's "Jump Shot"

I never Played against Luisetti. He was several years ahead of me at Stanford.

I saw him play in Denver in the AAU Tournament when I was a junior in high school. As I remember him, he had a one-handed outside shot and not the normal two-handed one which everyone else shot with. I think he influenced me to start shooting one-handed. Luisetti also shot the "step and shoot" shot right out of the dribble. The only  difference between him and Adams was his shot was one-handed and Adams' was with two. Ray Meyer did not call his shot a jump shot.


Belus Smalley's "Jump Shot"

I have played with Belus and against him in the NBA. We were on the same team in Baltimore. He also played with the St. Louis Bombers. I have guarded him many times.

Belus had a shot from outside that I would call a jump shot. He didn't attempt to get height like I did, but he did leave the floor a little and as you approached him playing defense he would fade back like Jordan did but with the ball over to his right side. The ball was not directly over his head and he shot it with both hands, not one. He typically didn't face the basket square on and usually shot from his side. I covered him many times, and when he was hitting he was tough.


Joe Fulks's "Jump Shot"

I played with Joe on the San Diego Marine Corps Base Recruit Depot basketball team. We were the No. 1 team in the nation among service teams. This was in 1943 before Joe and I shipped out to the South Pacific. At the time we left the States, we had a 35-game winning streak, and we had beaten more than just service teams, e.g. the AAU team Dow Chemical, the University of Southern California, and others.

Joe shot the two-handed shot from a position with the ball directly over his head. He sometimes left the floor a little when he shot the ball but not very much - probably 10-12 inches or less. He released the ball just like I did, with my one-handed shot all wrist and fingers. He didn't use the force of his motion upward when he left the floor to shoot the ball. The shot came afterwards, just like my one-handed shot. Joe's greatest asset was to follow his shot, recover the rebound, and shoot the same shot over again until he got the basket. I have seen him recover his own rebound as many as five times before he finally got it to go in. One of the greatest rebounders the game ever had at 6' 5".