Hakeem Olajuwon who charged LeBron James $50,000/week for post-up lessons, never wanted to be a Center
Hakeem Olajuwon dreamt of being a guard because did not have a preconceived notion about positioning in the game of basketball.
The NBA had never seen one, and it might never see the likes of Hakeem Olajuwon. The 7’0 center would never have even played basketball and be a goalkeeper for maybe the Nigerian national team or a European club if things panned out well.
But thanks to a coach in his hometown who showed him how to dunk a basketball while standing on a chair and made him realize what he was really meant to do.
“Basketball is something that is so unique. That immediately I pick up the game and, you know, realize that this is the life for me. All the other sports just become obsolete.” Hakeem said after making it to the grandest stages of basketball.
Also read: Bulls GM Rod Thorne believed Hakeem Olajuwon over Michael Jordan was a no-brainer in 1984
Although he picked up the game like he was meant for it, and made it to the top-4 in the NCAA in three out of his four years in college immediately after coming into the States, Olajuwon, surprisingly never wanted to be a center.
Hakeem Olajuwon was inspired by guards because he was naive towards watching the game
‘The Dream’ dribbling a basketball from one end of a basketball court to the other, going for a post-up play, or a jumper, or guarding any player on the court at any position from one through five, was just a treat to watch. His footwork was better than most guards.
Arguably the GOAT center of all time could do it all. The man who won two NBA championships, an MVP, 2x Finals MVP, 2x DPOYs, 12x All-Star and 9x All-Defensive team selections along with 2 rebounding and 3 blocks title playing as center, never wanted to play that position.
Ironically, his dominance in the post made him one of the most dominant players of all time, propelling players of the 2000s to ask the Rockets’ legend for lessons about the very skill that made him an unstoppable big man.
Hakeem trained the likes of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwight Howard, and several other stars of the league and bettered their post-up games like never before. He also charged a reported sum of around $50,000 a week for the same. That’s more money than most of the weeks he made in the NBA.
Also read: “$100,000 to train under Hakeem Olajuwon for two weeks?” : Amare Stoudemire was ready to shell out a boatload of money for just two weeks of mentorship
Too hefty for a skill that he did not want to be limited to, eh?