For a number of years, Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon acted as a sort of yogi for various NBA players looking to improve their post play. People like LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Amar’e Stoudemire, and countless others made the pilgrimage to his secluded Texas compound to study his breath-taking footwork and try to add his endless combinations of moves and counter-moves to their repertoire.
But of all the players he tutored, there was one in particular who stood above the rest. Olajuwon didn’t hesitate in a recent interview when asked to name his best student. Via SportingNews:
“I’ve worked with a lot of players, but the one who really capitalized on it the most is Kobe Bryant,” the Basketball Hall of Famer said of the 6-6 retiring Lakers legend. “When I watch him play, he’ll go down in the post comfortably, naturally, and he’ll execute it perfectly.”
It bears mentioning that he makes no reference to Dwight Howard when talking about his best students. He’s tutored Howard both privately and as a trainer with the Rockets during the past two seasons, yet Howard has shown very little progress in that area. Nonetheless, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise. Bryant’s post-work has long been celebrated as one of the hallmarks of his game, and The Dream clearly played a significant role in his evolution as a basketball player.