When you look back at the list of champions that players idolized as a kid, Michael Jordan was number one on the list, everyone wanted to be “Like Mike”. They were born into the Magic vs. Bird rivalry, although they admired those stars, they didn’t grow up with them like they did with Jordan. The roster of the 1992 Original Dream Team and include Isiah Thomas, those were the idols of today’s NBA.
One star not on the team was Hakeem Olajuwon. He eventually got US citizenship and made it to Dream Team II, the difference between Hakeem and those stars are their life post basketball. Many of these stars have become NBA Analyst, NBA Owners, NBA Coaches, or a member of NBA Management. Olajuwon on the other hand, has been out of the spotlight.
A retired NBA star is out of the NBA spotlight because they either are in hiding for negative reasons or their doing so well with their lives they do not need to work in the NBA. Hakeem is on top of that list, he has a net worth of $200 million for successful real estate ventures and resides most of the year in the country of Jordan. He does what he wants to do with his time and resources, and you better believe the current NBA stars see Hakeem as someone they want to live their post career. LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Dwight Howard are all current stars that have visited Hakeem in the past few years.
Kobe Bryant visited Hakeem first and added a post up dimension to his game that yielded two NBA championships. Dwight Howard has worked with Hakeem for the last two summers; although his results has not improved, Olajuwon mentions a need for the Orlando Magic to change its style of play in order to maximum his talents. LeBron James is next to visit Hakeem, While on the Jorge Sedano Show, AP Writer Tim Reynolds mentions that LeBron James visiting Olajuwon is for handling the mental aspect of being a champion, not just developing a post up game.
Hakeem Olajuwon has become the Pei Mei of the NBA. For those who have never seen Kill Bill, he is a legendary Kung-Fu master who trains assassins. Kobe was already an assassin but took his level of finishing to another level for titles four and five. The jury is still out on Dwight until he figures out where he plays next, time will tell for Dwight. LeBron working with Hakeem is interesting, him embracing the need to enhance his game, and no one is better to work with LeBron than someone just as dynamic of an athlete as him.
Olajuwon’s resume speaks for itself, multiple quadruple doubles and two NBA titles are respected by today’s athletes. Do you think Michael Jordan would work with Kobe Bryant or LeBron James on improving their games, even if he wasn’t the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats? I highly doubt he would, today’s superstars may have admired Jordan growing up, however Hakeem being the person stars go to take their games to the next level shows the respect and acknowledgement of the talent and the person. I am curious what would have happen if the Rockets would have played Bulls with Michael Jordan in 1994, I know one thing for sure; it goes to a game seven.