Though it rose to national fame thanks to the lightning-quick, playground-fashioned version used by former NBA star Allen Iverson, the crossover dribble has long been an integral part of basketball. By quickly dribbling the ball from one side of your body to the other, you can "cross" up your opponent, sending him stumbling in the wrong direction as you take off, unabated, toward the basket.
Size up your defender. If he's over-playing you to one side or the other, you'll know which direction to aim your crossover. If he thinks you're likely to dribble right, for instance, set him up with a right-handed dribble toward the left side of your body -- and vice versa. If he's playing you tightly, you'll have a better chance of catching him off-guard with the crossover. If he's sitting back daring you to shoot, you might want to shoot the jump shot and wait for a better crossover opportunity.
Begin your dribble. Start with a few normal dribbles or quick-trigger dribbles toward the side you'll be starting your crossover dribble. This will get your defender thinking you're headed in that direction. To add a bit more trickery, point your head and fix your eyes in that direction. Setting up the move is key in successfully using the crossover to shed a pesky opponent.
Cross it over. As your opponent begins to move in the direction of your initial dribble, plant the foot on that side and push off in the other direction. Use a quick, low dribble to sweep the ball to the other side of your body and shift your weight toward that side. When done correctly, this should shake you free of the defender. If you're a skilled ballhandler, you can also cross it over between your legs or behind your back.
Finish it off with a shot. If the crossover has worked to perfection, your opponent will suddenly find himself several feet out of position, in which case you should have a free path to the basket. Drive hard to the hoop and keep your eye on teammates who may be freed for open shots as their defenders slide over to cut off your path. If it's only bought you a slight bit of breathing room, rise up and shoot the open jump shot before your defender recovers.
On fast break opportunities you can try to shake your defender with a double crossover. Crossover from your right to left hand, then move the ball back to your right, for example.
Don't fall into a pattern of using your crossover in the exact same situations. If the defender knows when the crossover is coming he may be able to steal the ball.