What: In basketball, when a player sets a screen to trap a defender, while a teammate whisks by with the ball:

Why: The player with the ball is Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash. The player with his back to Nash is his center, Shaquille O’Neal. The player Shaq is setting the screen against is… well, who cares. That guy doesn’t matter. Because Nash and O’Neal are using the ol’ pick and roll to render his intentions irrelevant. The defender’s man is Nash; his coach told him to guard Nash when he had the ball, but the largest mammal on two legs just rotated over from his man to block the defender. Nash now has an uncontested shot. If the defender is fool enough to leave O’Neal, Nash will just pass into Shaq for the easy dunk. Either way, two for the Suns. (If you must know, the defender’s name is Marko Jarić, then a forward for the T-Wolves. You will now forget about him.)

Impact: The pick and roll defines why you need both speedy little guys and towering behemoths on a basketball team. A team with a great point guard and one or more immovable objects will score a ton of points. Teams like Phoenix during the Mike D’Antoni era would routinely run the score well past the 100-point mark, daring other teams to keep pace.

Personal Connection: Back when there was a “National Basketball Association” (for how could there be such a thing if it doesn’t have a team in Seattle?), I often watched the Bulls play in Chicago. Though I could see Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen every home game, there was one game a year I’d mark on the calendar as a must-see. That was when the Utah Jazz came to town. John Stockton and Karl Malone became my favorite players other than Michael and Scottie, in large part because of Stockton and Malone’s mastery of the pick and roll. When Stockton was rolling, Malone would make someone disappear. Thing of beauty.

Other Contenders: the Statue of Liberty trick play in football, where the quarterback fakes a throw with the hand that does not contain the ball, then hands off to the runner; the stolen base, especially the very rare stealing of home plate; the bicycle kick in soccer; the pairs skating death spiral, where the woman’s head nearly touches the ice.