Tuesday, September 25, 2012

LeBron and the Dream

Imagine if Martin Scorsese had stopped making his own films 10 or 15 years ago and instead had signed on as Paul Thomas Anderson’s second-unit director. Or say Warren Buffet dropped Berkshire Hathaway to serve exclusively as Mark Zuckerberg’s financial advisor. Think of Kate Upton, tutored in the kitchen by Rachel Ray.

Unfair, right? Overkill. The rich, the gifted and the awesome don’t need to get that much richer, more gifted or awesomer, do they? Yet that is what happened in the NBA when LeBron James enlisted the help of no less than Hakeem Olajuwon as his post-moves coach.

As described in the fine feature story by Mike Berardino of the Sun-Sentinel, the teacher-pupil relationship between arguably the NBA’s most swift and elusive Hall of Fame center ever and its most dominant active player began during the lockout. Stinging from Miami’s loss in the 2011 Finals, his ears burning from ceaseless criticism, James sought out Olajuwon to add a new wrinkle to his game: Balance, footwork, deception and scoring tricks in the low post.

It was like Eric Clapton making a pilgrimage to Les Paul.

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