Olajuwon praises Lebron and Kobe, says he could take Griffin’s game to new level

olajuwon-statue-houstonHakeem Olajuwon has been working out with several already established NBA players, helping them to improve their low post game. As they say, if you want to learn – learn from the best.

And as far as the paint, the low-post moves and footwork go – there wasn’t anyone better than former Houston Rockets center, Hakeem Olajuwon.

In an interview with NiceKicks, Olajuwon praised Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, and also spoke about current rising stars of the NBA, such as Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin.

When asked who was the most eager to learn from him, Olajuwon spoke about current NBA champion, arguably the best player in the world, Lebron James.

“He was determined, he wanted to absorb, and learn. On our first practice, before I came in, and I came in on time – he was already there, stretched and ready to go,” Olajuwon said.

“While on the first day the moves that we worked on weren’t so smooth, the next practice they were smooth, and I was very impressed with how professionally he took it. He took it very seriously,” Olajuwon said. “He wanted to learn, and he came with determination.”

Speaking about Kobe Bryant, who came to visit him after winning an NBA championship, Olajuwon said why Bryant wanted to improve his game.

“Kobe is a genius. He understands the game. He loves to post, he loves to play in the post. He told me that if he could, he would stay in the post all day. And he wanted to get more fluent in the post,” Olajuwon said.

Speaking about a player that he hasn’t worked out with, but would want to, Olajuwon named the All-Star forward of  the LA Clippers, Blake Griffin.

“I’d like to work with Blake, and he needs it too. When you look at him – he’s very explosive, but he needs the moves that can help him get to the position to finish,” Olajuwon said, adding that it was the reason Griffin couldn’t do much in the playoffs.

“He’d be the ideal guy. When I watched him play, I said if he could develop all these moves around the basket, it would take him to a whole different level,” Olajuwon said.

Speaking about the lack of true centers with post moves in the game today, Olajuwon said it is always a lack of big men who really dominate the game.

“When you find one such big man, the whole league has to adjust. Before I came into the league, there was a bunch of quality, great big men – Jabbar, Moses Malone, Artis Gilmore, guality, big guys. That is very unusual. Then I came with Ewing, Shaquille, Alonzo. That was unusual too. So it all comes back full circle, when you have very few such great centers,” he 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.

He led the Houston Rockets to back-to-back NBA championships in 1994 and 1995. In 2008, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Olajuwon is a 12-time NBA All-Star, and has been named the 1994 NBA MVP.

He is considered one of the greatest centers ever to play the game. Some say, he was the best. Olajuwon 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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