Motion offenses are different from continuity offenses in that they follow no fixed repeating pattern. Instead, a motion offense is free-flowing and relatively unrestricted, though following a set of rules. Some examples of basic rules that are commonly used are:
The origin of the motion offense has been disputed. Though credit is often given to Hank Iba, the former head coach of the Oklahoma State Cowboys men's basketball team, there are many who believe that the motion offense was developed earlier by coaches of the New York Renaissance, an all-African American team who played during the 1920s and 30s. In fact, the Rens were the first team—black or white—to win the World Championship Professional Basketball Tournament, held in 1939, by using the motion offense.
Hank Iba's teams were methodical, ball-controlling units who featured weaving patterns and low-scoring games. A major contributor to the motion offense run at OSU was through the methodical mind of Bloomer Sullivan, Hank Iba's assistant early on who implemented his own version of the motion offense at Southeastern Oklahoma State College for 31 years.
Another prominent head coach who was influential in the development of the motion offense is Bob Knight. Knight enjoyed great success for over 40 years as the head coach of the United States Military Academy, Indiana University, and Texas Tech University, recording 902 total victories. Knight's motion offense didn't truly come to fruition until his time at Indiana. Prior to that, as head coach of Army, he ran a "reverse action" offense. This offense involved reversing the ball from one side of the floor to the other, and screening along with it. According to Knight, it was a "West Coast offense" that Pete Newell used during his coaching career. After watching the Princeton offense for years while still at West Point, Knight went to the Olympic trials in 1972 to learn about the passing game. With Newell's help, he was able to further develop his offense.
Bob Knight's motion offense emphasized post players setting screens and perimeter players passing the ball until a teammate becomes open for an uncontested lay-up or jump shot. Players are also required to be unselfish and disciplined and must be effective in setting and using screens to get open. Plus, instead of relying on set plays, Knight's offense is designed to react according to the defense. As he continued developing his offense, he instituted different cuts and would put his players in different scenarios. During his time at Indiana University, the Hoosiers won 3 NCAA Championships; in 1976, 1981, and 1987. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991.