This past offseason, New York Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire reportedly spent $50,000 per week for one on one training sessions with former Houston Rockets’ great Hakeem Olajuwon. Six months later, Stoudemire, who had been recognized primarily for his ability to thrive in the pick-and-roll, is showing a much improved low-post game. Knicks’ coach Mike Woodson, a former teammate of Olajuwon, says that isn’t a coincidence.
“This summer there just was no time off,” Woodson said (via The New York Post). “That guy (Stoudemire) was running and working with Dream and doing all the necessary things to get ready for this season. We’re starting to benefit from it. He’s starting to look more comfortable down on the block and that’s kind of nice to see.’’
Stoudemire agreed with his coach’s assessment.
“I’ve put in so much work to where I was expecting this to happen at the start of the season, but unfortunately with the injuries, I was out for 20-something games,’’ said Stoudemire. “Over time, I’ve become more comfortable with repetitions and I feel the experience growing. It’s happening naturally for me.”
The 30 year-old Knicks’ forward also offered a glowing endorsement for Olajuwon. “For those two weeks I was such a student of the game, I was like his wallet: When he moved, I moved,’’ Stoudemire said. “I was studying him and soaking up all the knowledge and getting an understanding of what it takes to be great. He did a great job of teaching me.’’
We’ll be able to determine the full return on Stoudemire’s $100,000 investment in a few months when the Knicks head into the playoffs.