NBA players who have worked with Olajuwon include Yao Ming, Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, Luol Deng, Emeka Okafor, JaVale McGee and Kenneth Faried. Olajuwon also has worked with Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks is friends with Olajuwon and was his teammate for 2 1/2 seasons (1992-95) in Houston.
Although Brooks willingly endorses his centers working on their offensive skills during the offseason, Brooks said he doesn't necessarily believe the answer lies in trying to duplicate the skills of the 7-foot, 255-pound and freakishly athletic Olajuwon, who finished with career averages of 23.5 points, 10.2 rebounds, 3.0 blocks and 1.5 steals.
“What he was able to do, I will never see in my lifetime,” Brooks said of Olajuwon, “but if he can somehow, some way (teach that) … I don't think it's possible, what he was able to do. You don't see that. He was seven feet tall, he's as quick as most guards, (has) better footwork than most guards. He's a freak of nature. He was one of the best players ever.”
Thunder starting center Kendrick Perkins is on the same wavelength as Brooks.
“I think the Olajuwon thing is overrated to me,” Perkins said. “He was a guy that just had a special gift. Some things you can't teach. I was a Houston Rockets fan and I was an Olajuwon fan growing up. If you go back and watch Olajuwon and all the moves he used to make and all that, a lot of guys try to go work with him and you see a lot of guys try to even do the ‘Dream Shake' and they be falling on they face.
“So at the end of the day, I think that's a special gift. Like, seriously. I think nowadays you just got to have a go-to move, a counter and then if you want to add a couple of other moves. But the things he (Olajuwon) had in his game you can't really teach that. That's just my opinion.”