Around 2010, there was only one undisputed superstar center in the NBA, and that was Dwight Howard. It was a tough time for the big men of the league, but Andrew Bynum was projected to be the next in line and become Dwight's career rival. Things wouldn't work out that way, despite the help from some greats.
The Los Angeles Lakers are such a storied franchise, with 17 championships behind them and numerous outstanding players to put on the purple & gold jersey. That allows them to always have some amazing outside advice and the opportunity to ask greats to mentor their young players, helping them improve.
The leading scorer in NBA history and one of the best players ever, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is one of the guys the Lakers have often used to mentor their young big man and potentially teach them a couple of moves, most notably the sky hook.
One of the guys Kareem was teaching back in the day was Andre Bynum. Getting drafted 10th overall in the 2005 Draft straight out of high school at 17 years old made Bynum a very raw prospect but with a lot of upside. The size, agility, and offensive ability gave hope Bynum could be a dominant center for the foreseeable future.
But the slow road to becoming a valuable NBA player would see Bynum go through a lot of adversity, injuries, and mishaps before eventually winning two championships and having the season of his career in 2011-2012, averaging 18.7 ppg and 11.8 rpg in his lone All-Star selection and All-NBA nod.
But that would be the end of Bynum's career, getting injured seriously and only playing in 26 games with the Cavs and Pacers before eventually retiring at only 26 years old. It was an anticlimactic finish to what many projected to be a great career.
Kareem once shared a story of him training Bynum and trying to help him become a defensive player by watching a tape of Bill Russell:
"When I was training Andrew Bynum, I told him look, go on Facebook. Watch Bill Russell Block Art. That's all you have to know about how to play defense. And Andrew started to get it. But he didn't stick with it. He wasn't interested. He wanted to take the engines out of cars. And that's how it worked out."
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, The Dan Patrick Show
That was the story of Bynum's career. He showed promise and potential to actually learn something from watching Russell play defense, but he didn't have the passion for building on it and becoming a great NBA center. If Kareem's presence and mentorship couldn't have helped him, there was indeed no hope for Bynum to become a great NBA player.