According to Associated Press reports, LeBron James has been working on his post game this summer with Hakeem Olajuwon, one of the greatest centers of all time. With back-to-back [Finals MVP] championships in 1994 and 1995, Hall of Famer Hakeem the Dream had outstanding capabilities in both defense and offense. Michael Jordan called him "versatile...[in] all facets of the game."
Among Olajuwon's phenomenal footwork moves was the famous "Hakeem Olajuwon Dream Shake"—a set of seemingly endless fakes, spin moves and countermoves [a pivot used when your initial pivot or shot is defended]—which was nearly impossible to defend. Get a taste of his nimble movements from the following highlight video—watch and learn.
Olajuwon describes his signature move: "The Dream Shake was actually one of my soccer moves, which I translated to basketball. It would accomplish one of three things—one, to misdirect the opponent and make him go the opposite way; two, to freeze the opponent and leave him devastated in his tracks; [and] three, to shake off the opponent and give him no chance to contest the shot."
LeBron is not the first superstar to seek out Olajuwon's instruction. Others who have studied with the Dream include Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard. Howard calls him "the master" and "the sensei," and the two centers developed a "code" to signal various post moves—like "Baseline, Option 1," and "Touch Landing."
Olajuwon describes his Touch Landing move:
"When the point guard throws me the ball, I jump to get the ball. But this jump is the set-up for the second move, the baseline move. I call it the 'Touch Landing.' The defender is waiting for me to come down because I jumped, but I'm gone before I land...The jump is to set [the defender] up. Before I come down, I make my move. When you jump, you turn as you land. Boom! The defender can't react, because he's waiting for you to come down to defend you. When [the defender] react[s] to that quickness, you can fake baseline and go the other way with your jump hook."
For the Dream Shake, he says, "By jumping, I don't have a pivot foot now. I dribble, so now I can use either foot. I can go this way or this way. So [the defender's] frozen; he doesn't know which way I'm going to go. That is the Shake. You put him in the mix and you jump stop, and now you have choice of pivot foot. He doesn't know where you're gonna turn and when."
Check out the video below from one of Howard's sessions with Olajuwon, and watch how Howard interprets "the Code" next season.
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