Hakeem Olajuwon transitioned from being one of the best centers in NBA History to being one of the most popular teachers for NBA players, especially those who want to improve their post play. But from the bunch of the players that learned from him, one stands out as the one that applied “The Dream’s” knowledge the most. Of course, we are talking about the late great Kobe Bryant.
The two hooked up in 2009 after Bryant won his fourth NBA title when the Lakers defeated the Orlando Magic. With mutual respect for one another, both Olajuwon and Bryant were excited for the opportunity to work together. With his range, Bryant not only applied Olajuwon’s moves under the basket but from mid-range as well, using a variety of movements to get into the key and pump fake his way to a basket or free throws. Olajuwon said himself:
“I’ve worked with a lot of players, but the one who capitalized on it the most is Kobe Bryant. When I watch him play, he’ll go down in the post comfortably, naturally, and he’ll execute it perfectly.”
Hakeem Olajuwon, via Sporting News
It speaks a lot about Bryant’s desire to work with Olajuwon after he already reached the milestone of 4 championships and was regarded as one of the best players in NBA history. But when it comes to Kobe and his work ethic, not much can surprise as, as the stories of passion for the game and constant improvement are numerous.
After his final game in Houston back in 2016, Kobe didn’t forget to thank Hakeem for his generosity and willingness to share the knowledge so he can become a better player.
“To be able to come out here and him being generous enough with his time and spend the entire day with him in his house working on footwork, going over every detail in the post and sharing his knowledge with me. Hopefully, this generation understands how great he was. Hopefully, they go back and watch and appreciate his greatness. I just wanted to thank him.”
Kobe Bryant, via Sporting News