Whitehead Brings The Cyclone from the Boardwalk to Barclays

By Cory Wright

Isaiah Whitehead has a nasty spin move, a quick cut to the left side that’s been the calling card of his rookie season. It’s aptly named “The Cyclone,” a double entendre paying homage to the iconic wooden roller coaster down the boardwalk from Whitehead’s home in Coney Island.

Like the roller coaster, Whitehead’s move is deceptively fast and it has staying power. The creaky coaster still holds up after 90 years while Whitehead’s move has been his go-to since seventh grade.

“When you start basketball you have one move that you always do, so I did it in seventh grade and since then it’s worked to my advantage,” he said. “I worked on it a lot going into college and high school and I tried it one game here and it worked, so I kept going back to it.”

Of course, the spin is only half the battle, but Whitehead usually follows it up with a layup. Left hand, right hand, doesn’t matter. So far, it’s blown through the NBA and even worked on Whitehead’s childhood idol, Carmelo Anthony.

The idea that a move he debuted at 12 years old translates to the NBA is still pretty wild to Whitehead.

“It’s mind-boggling,” Whitehead said. “Especially when I catch them all the time, it’s like, what else am I going to do? It’s kind of tough to defend, but at the end of the day, it’s just a spin move.”

Sure, but there are also car movies and then there’s the Fast and Furious franchise, so not all spin moves are created equal. The Cyclone works and as long as it does, Whitehead will keep taking the NBA for rides in Brooklyn. 

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