Posts Tagged ‘Hakeem Olajuwon’

What it’s all about …

December 19, 2008

Those who are able to watch this video clip and then try to blame the Captain of the Toronto Raptors for the current state of affairs with this team simply indicate their own lack of basketball acumen and sophistication: 

Although this young man can definitely score the ball, in this League, he is not a Prime Time scorer, per se.

What he is, at 24 years of age, in his 5th NBA season, is wise beyond his years, and made of championship material.

1. Find him the right teammates to play beside … like Jose Calderon, for example;

2. Use him at his best position, which is CENTER;

3. Make him focus on his individual strengths, as a person and a player … which include his intelligence, his imagination, his curiousity, his sense of team, his Rebounding, his off-the-ball Defense, his Shot-blocking, his transition game, his quickness and his agility;

4. Help him to better understand his place within the history of the game, and where it is he fits today within the panoramic landscape of Big Men … like Russell, Reed, Cowens, Hayes, Walton, Sikma, Abdul-Jabbar, Moses, Parrish, Laimbeer, Olajuwon, Robinson and Duncan … each one an unique center-piece for a championship team;

and what you will end up with is an extended run in the upper echelon of the NBA … if you really do know what you’re doing, in terms of building a TOP NOTCH organization, from the gound floor up, in the world’s best professional basketball league.

Fail to heed these words, however … and, instead, ask/demand/expect of him to be something which he is not … and it will simply be Just Another Lost Opportunity for the Toronto Raptors Basketball Club.

Players like this … with this sort of ability, stability and strength of character … only come around every so often Where Amazing Happens!

What happens when you’re young stays with you forever

November 4, 2008

In the early 1970’s, the fact is, ‘Mr. Clutch’ was the first favourite NBA player of this corner …

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Jerry West still is a reluctant sports hero
West can best be described as one of the most conflicted legendary sports heroes of our time. He is a man who has had a lifetime of success in nearly all facets and has never been comfortable with that.

Part of that might hark back to the third nickname, the one he likes the least: “Zeke from Cabin Creek.” That was placed on him by other players from bigger cities when he arrived in the NBA in 1960, the second pick of the draft and perhaps a comparative hick. He had been an All-American at West Virginia, and nobody questioned his basketball credentials. Nobody but him, that is.

“I didn’t think I was good enough to play in the pros,” he said back then.

As the second-youngest of six children growing up in the relative poverty of Cheylan, W.Va., and learning his basketball craft mostly alone on muddy outdoor courts with cheap hoops, West couldn’t have been less prepared for something like Los Angeles.

“Cabin Creek was about a mile away,” he said, elaborating with a snapshot of life in the ’50s in a coal mining state. “That’s where we got our mail. I’d run there and back. Maybe that’s why I was in such good shape to play basketball. I remember running past Wade’s Pool Hall on a Saturday morning. You could tell how wild a time the coal miners had had the night before by how many of the windows were broken out.”

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While time and increased maturity have succeeded in developing an increased appreciation for the outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the game of terrific players like, e.g. The Great Bill Russell, the ‘Big O’, Kareem, Dr. J, the ‘Moutain Man’, Magic & Bird [because they will forever be linked together], Isiah, MJ, Hakeem, Duncan, etc., it can never overshadow what it meant to these young eyes, late at night, watching on a grainy black & white TV a certain player, wearing #44, who just kept hitting big shot after big shot, in an effort to help his team win a rather silly game, played the Right Way, in short pants with a round ball and an elevated basket.

Although time marches on … you can never ever replace THAT.

Shaq’s all-time ranking, as a dominant player

September 17, 2008

In his weekly chat, David Thorpe [ESPN NBA Insider/Analyst] provides his succinct assessment of Shaquille O’Neal’s legacy, as an NBA player, when all is said and done:

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Christopher, Germany: Hi David, love your chats. After they ended their carreers, who ranks higher on the all-time list: Shaq or Kobe?

SportsNation David Thorpe: Shaq.

Nate (New Haven): David, no way shaq ends up higher. Kobe’s got 3 rings, 5 finals appearences, same number of all nba teams and 8 more defensive team appearences. What planet are you living on?

SportsNation David Thorpe: Shaq is top 3 all time in terms of pure dominance. His stats are unreal. Here on earth, we consider such things.

Christopher, Germany: who are the other two all-time-best in pure dominance?

SportsNation David Thorpe: I’d suggest Wilt and Kareem, in totally different ways.

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Well … this corner of the blogosphere does NOT concur with Mr. Thorpe’s opinion … in regard to the ‘Big Aristotle’, as a once dominant NBA player.

Speaking strictly as a Center … Shaq doesn’t place in the Top 5 all-time … amongst those I would choose to anchor the middle for a Dream Team.

1. Bill Russell [11 NBA titles in 13 years … nuff, said]
2. Kareem Abdul Jabbar [the greatest offensive force in hoops’ history]
3. Hakeem Olajuwon [the most skilful Post Player of all-time]
4. Wilt Chamberlain [the most physically dominant player in any era]
5. Tim Duncan [the Big Fundamental … nuff, said]

When considering other players, as well, who’ve played other positions … at least, the following individuals would also rank well above ‘the Diesel’, in terms of their all-time dominance … 

1. Michael Jordan
2. Oscar Robertson
3. Magic Johnson
4. Larry Bird
5. Kobe Bryant

at the height of their physical prowess.

There’s no doubt whatsoever that Shaquille O’Neal is the single Most Powerful Force [of Nature] in the history of the game … i.e. combining Size, Strength, Speed, Agility, Quickness, Explosivity and Intelligence.

This FACT is a given.

BUT[T] … and, it’s a rather LARGE One, at this point … there is simply NO WAY, SHAPE or FORM, he should legitimately be listed amongst the MOST EFFECTIVE [i.e. ‘the Greatest’, or ‘the Best’, or ‘the Most Dominant’] players of all-time.

Whether your are ranking by (i) most championships won, (ii) most all-star appearances, (iii) most prolific individual statistics, or (iv) most combined areas of standard productivity/efficiency measures … including overall skill level and/or competitive will, etc., … neither Shaq’s actual performance nor his crunched numbers [associated with his overall body of work] stack up well, in comparison with the greatest players in the history of the game.

Standing Tall

September 5, 2008

The first time these ears actually heard him speak, in-person, was in the immediate aftermath of the 1984 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Game when … after vanquishing the Houston Cougars (including his long-time rival and fellow 2008 Basketball Hall of Fame Inductee, Hakeem Olajuwon) … he stood speechless, beside his teammate and friend, Reggie Williams, lost for words to describe what he was feeling at that precise moment.

To think …

from humble beginnings like THIS …

Part II

“What I’ve watched Patrick do is to adjust to difficult conditions … and then face them … which is what good leaders do.”Steve Jenkins, 8th Grade Coach

[FYI … here’s Part I, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI & Part VII … give yourself a real treat and watch them all!]

to where he eventually went with his career …

Centerpiece of the New York Knicks

Centerpiece of the New York Knicks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and where he’s at today …

Speaking live at Madison Square Garden

Speaking live at MSG

Raising his number to the rafters

Raising his number

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘the Big Man’ … originally from Kingston, Jamaica, and then Cambridge’s (MA) Rindge & Latin High School, and then Georgetown University (Washington, DC) … has the utmost (and unquestionnable) RESPECT of this corner.

Kudos to you, Patrick Ewing … Basketball Hall of Fame Inductee (2008) … you’ve come a long way!

Chris Bosh should be starting for Team USA

August 15, 2008

This is the answer which was given in this space [August 4, 2008]  to the following question:

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5. Carlos Boozer and Chris Bosh will be fighting for the back-up Center minutes; who should win the job?

This is a silly question.

If Team USA wanted to dominate the international competition this year … the most potent line-up it could put on the floor would see Carlos Boozer at the 4/Power Forward AND Chris Bosh at the 5/Center positions, not ‘fighting for the back-up Center minutes.

For further explanation, see the link provided in the answer to Question #3. -)

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that was asked by the good folks at Upside and Motor, in their Team USA Blogger Roundtable [to which this corner had not received an invite 🙂 ].

10 days later …

Raptors’ Chris Bosh emerging as a leader for the U.S. team: Draws rave reviews from coach, teammates with strong showing on defense

and it is somewhat gratifying to see that one or two others in the basketball community [at-large] have at last begun to ‘see’ what this corner has known about this young man [Chris Bosh], as a Center in the NBA, for a VERY LONG TIME …

De-constructing the mystery that is Chris Bosh [April 21, 2008]

It never ceases to amaze what some so-called ‘NBA experts’ think they understand about the game.

Sacred hoopsters for all-time

June 2, 2008

If you could choose but 12 players and 2 coaches from amongst all those who have ever played the game to form YOUR personal team, and represent what it is YOU stand for, on and off the court …

Who would these 14 be?

These are mine:

Starters:
PG – Magic Johnson
OG – Michael Jordan
SF – Larry Bird
PF – Kevin McHale
C – Bill Russell

Bench:
Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Julius Erving, Dennis Rodman, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Rick Barry, Hakeem Olajuwon

Head Coach:
Red Auerbach

Assistant Coach:
Phil Jackson

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Who is on YOUR team for all-time?

NBA at 50

De-constructing the mystery that is Chris Bosh

April 21, 2008

In the NBA, Chris Bosh is … and has always been … a Finesse Center/5.

Chris Bosh (6-10, 230, Lefty) is not a Power Forward/4.

Never has been; never will be.

In fact, Chris Bosh is not a Power player, at all.

In the NBA, Chris Bosh has few, if any, ‘Mismatch Advantages’ when he isn’t playing the Center position.

Is Chris Bosh a franchise player?

YES, he is … but not THE kind of player many THINK he is …

nor the kind of player he’s been made to play as, to this point in his pro career, as a Core Member of  the Toronto Raptors, under the Leadership of Rob Babcock & Bryan Colangelo (the team’s General Managers) AND the coaching of Kevin O’Neill & Sam Mitchell.

Chris Bosh’s Strength, as a basketball player, is as a Finesse Center/5 … who is:

1) A terrific Team Defender, in the Middle of the action, in the Lane, where & when he can defend each of the other 4 players on the court … in addition to his own individual check, which he isn’t very good at doing to begin with, as a Finesse, Shot-blocking 5 … in the mold of ‘the Great Bill Russell‘ (6-10, 220, Lefty);

2) A terrific Rebounder, capable of averaging 15+ boards a contest, if made to emphasize this aspect of the game … in the mold of ‘the Great Bill Russell’;

3) A terrific Character Guy, with the Core trait of Un-Selfishness that is shared with the other truly great Centers who have ever played the game … e.g. Men like Miken, (the Great Bill) Russell, Reed, Abdul-Jabbar & Walton (plus, in today’s environment, the ‘Big Fundamental’, Tim Duncan);

4) A solid Mid-Post and Elbow scorer (i.e. within 15-18 feet of the basket) … when he’s matched-up exclusively vs THE opponent’s Bigall of whom he can simply ‘out-quick’, relative to this position on the floor … but which can only be dictated by Bosh’s coach, if said coach plays Bosh as THE Biggest player within his own ‘Group-of-5’ and not the 2nd biggest, who can go into the Post and command an ‘Inside-Out’ double-team, based on his ability to score the ball from this position on the floor … with his FINESSE ‘Face-Up’ game; rather than a ‘power game’ which Chris Bosh simply does not and will NEVER EVER have.

Unfortunately for Chris Bosh, since he was drafted into the NBA by the Toronto Raptors he has yet to play for a GM or a coach who knows what his ACTUAL STRENGTHS are as a pro player, and as a person, in general … and has not yet been developed into the type of dominating ALL-PRO individual he is truly capable of eventually becoming in this League … similar to ‘the Great Bill Russell’.

But, for anyone to claim that Chris Bosh is not a franchise player … is just plain WRONG.

When a player handles the ball a lot off the bounce, or on the dribble-up … something which Chris Bosh does not do … it is irrelevant if that player is being played out of position, on Offense, in the NBA.

That player can simply ‘go and get the ball’ and take the game over by himself, off the bounce, when need be … e.g. like MJ, Kobe, LBJ, Chris Paul, Oscar, Magic, etc.

Likewise, when a player has an ‘interior’ Power game (i.e. Drop Step, Jump Hook, Turn-around Jump Shot, Up & Under, etc.) … in general, something which Chris Bosh does not have … this player’s teammates can simply throw the ball inside to him whenever he is using his SIZE & PHYSICAL STRENGTH to gain an advantageous position, in the Low Post, and allow him to ‘go to work’ inside, either scoring the ball himself or by creating open shots for his teammates … e.g. like Shaq, Duncan, Wilt and Miken have all done.

However, when a player is a Finesse Center/5 … like Chris Bosh or Rasheed Wallace or Hakeem Olajuwon or Jack Sikma or Bill Walton or Dave Cowens or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or Willis Reed or ‘the Great Bill Russell’ … on Offense, he is dependent (i) on his coach to play him in the correct position, for his unique skill set, and (ii) his teammates to get him the ball in the spots on the floor that he can be the most effective, either as a passer or a scorer; while, on Defense, he is dependent on his coach to match him up correctly against the individual check that allows him to not only defend this player BUT the other 4 players on the court, as well, especially if he can ‘block shots & rebound’ like Chris Bosh, Olajuwon, Walton, Abdul-Jabbar and ‘the Great Bill Russell’ can/could all do at the peak of their NBA careers (i.e. from 27-to-35 years of age).

Chris Bosh (at only 24 years of age) is a Finesse Center/5, in the NBA … who, if used correctly, is a Franchise Player that can be a Centrifugal Force in the League for years to come … in the mold of ‘the Great Bill Russell’ … unless, of course, the best years of his career are frittered away playing for a hapless team whose GM’s and coaches do not have a clue about what his actual strengths are, as a player and a person, and just how good (i.e. talented, unselfish & hard-working) he is, relative to the other players in the League who play the Center position.

 

The Dream Shake that changed the NBA

April 7, 2008

Supreme salutations to the ‘Man from Lagos’ … whose ‘Coming to America’ changed the game forever.

Behold …

the newest member of the NBA’s Hall of Fame.

Update: In honour of Raps Fan … 2 more vid clips, Hakeem’s Greatest Hits and The Legendary Olajuwon. Enjoy!