Lakers’ Kobe Bryant credits former Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon for elevating his post play

first_imgLife lessonBryant developed such a thirst for NBA championships that he once called the Lakers’ failed three-peat during the 2010-11 season “a wasted year of my life.” Yet with the finality of his NBA career drawing nearer, Bryant has somewhat evolved on what the ultimate end-game should be.“The game is bigger than scoring points and winning championships. It’s really about have you been able to move somebody or inspire somebody for a brief moment to want to be a better version of themselves,” Bryant said. “Hopefully I’ve done that.” It seems fair to say Bryant has. At every farewell stop, countless opposing players greet him on the court and in the hallways expressing their appreciation. In turn, Bryant said his large fanbase “inspired me to be the best version of myself.” “When you retire, your championship trophies are sitting there and dust collects,” Bryant said. “If you really want to create something that stands the test of time, you must move somebody.” Writing historyInstead of fixating on Golden State’s quest to surpass the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls for the NBA’s best regular-season record (72-10), Bryant argued fans should simply appreciate the Warriors (71-9) amid their efforts to defend their NBA title. “The run that they’re on is a remarkable one,” Bryant said. “We should enjoy that as it’s taking place now with what they’re currently doing. Then as time goes on, you have to look back and see how many championships they have won. But in this moment, you’re doing something obviously that no team has ever done before.” HOUSTON >> The drills looked so simple and repetitive as one Hall of Famer eagerly taught a future candidate endless post moves. Former Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon hosted Kobe Bryant for an offseason workout in 2009 that featured what the Lakers’ star described as “the smallest details of things.”Those small details became huge, though. A video documenting part of their workout showed Olajuwon explaining to Bryant when to move his pivot foot. Other times, Olajuwon demonstrated exactly when Bryant should spin and cut baseline. The two repeated the drills endlessly.• LAKER FOR LIFE: Book that chronicles Kobe’s 20 years in LA now on sale • PHOTOS: Kobe Bryant through 20 yearsThe Lakers (16-63) visit the Houston Rockets (38-41) on Sunday at Toyota Center with Bryant ranking third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list (33,535 points) partly because of his superior post play. Even if that skill became a large part of his offensive makeup through his 20-year NBA career, Bryant largely credited his workout sessions with Olajuwon for fine-tuning them.“When you’re able to understand those small details, you’re able to elevate it to another level,” Bryant said. “Hakeem has probably been a little frustrated because a lot of players don’t pay attention to that. If you watch him play, those things aren’t. He pays attention to every little thing.”That explains why Bryant called Olajuwon a “genius” after spending his 18-year NBA career collecting two championships (1994, 1995), 26,946 points (10th overall) and willingly mentoring star players. That also explains why Olajuwon reportedly said he considered Bryant his best low-post student after also training LeBron James and Dwight Howard. “My first 30 minutes working together, he knew I understood what he was saying,” Bryant said. “It was the smallest details of things. From that, I got a lot out of it.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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