Hakeem Olajuwon talks college time, the Warriors and Kobe Bryant

olajuwon-interviewHakeem Olajuwon, the retired NBA superstar, the member of the Houston Rockets championship teams of 1994 and 1995, has recently talked with Sporting News, on various subjects.

In particular, Olajuwon, who trained several NBA superstars on their footwork, said that his best pupil was Kobe Bryant.

“I’ve worked with a lot of players, but the one who really capitalized on it the most is Kobe Bryant,” said Olajuwon.

The Hall of Famer also spoke on the issues of basketball players staying in college instead of jumping straight into the NBA. Olajuwon doesn’t appreciate it.

“Of course if you have guys leaving after one year, that means the quality goes down. Definitely. The development, when guys then take two years to develop in the NBA league, too. If you play sophomore and junior years, you become a more seasoned player. So that’s definitely affected the quality of the tournament,” he explained.

“They are going into the league not truly matured,” he said. “They haven’t played enough basketball to experience and get the confidence and level to adjust when they get to the big leagues.”

Speaking of the current NBA champions Golden State Warriors, who are looking to repeat as champions, Olajuwon had a few things to say.

“They don’t have that [big man] inside, but they are a very balanced team,” he said. “They have a lot of players, great shooters surrounding their big guys, who can get the second chances.”

“They play together. They create shots, drive to the basket, kick it out to the open guy. So they’re playing basketball more fun, all over the court and freelancing — but organized,” Olajuwon said.

The Sporting News also asked Olajuwon if there is anyone in today’s NBA who reminds him of himself, and it turns out, there is one such player.

“To go outside, you have to be able to put it on the floor, you have to be able to shoot the jumper off the pick-and-roll. So what I see with Anthony Davis playing the position of center, this is the type of basketball I liked to play: free-flowing, open court, you can play small or you can post up,” Olajuwon said.

Olajuwon established himself as an unusually skilled offensive player for a big man, perfecting a set of fakes and spin moves that became known as his trademark Dream Shake.

In 2008, Olajuwon was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. He is a 12-time NBA All-Star, and has been named the 1994 NBA MVP. Olajuwon is considered one of the greatest centers ever to play the game.

He played in 1238 NBA games (1186 started), averaging 21.8 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 2.5 apg and 3.1 bpg in 35.7 minutes of action.


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