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Hakeem Olajuwon’s Incredible Post Footwork Influenced 1 of the Greatest Crossover Artists in NBA History

Hakeem Olajuwon was a pioneer of the post-up game, and his footwork is now used as an example in many basketball schools around the world.

Hakeem Olajuwon is known for his many contributions to basketball. One of the most impressive aspects of his game was how he would use footwork and spins in order to get around defenders. His moves have been referenced by three-time NBA champion, Yao Ming, who became a crossover artist himself after learning from Olajuwon’s work ethic. Who can forget when Hakeem showed up at an event with Yao?In the 90’s, Hakeem Olajuwon perfected a unique post-step that helped him become one of the greatest crossovers in NBA history. This particular move was so good it influenced 1 of the biggest crossover artists in NBA History: Kobe Bryant. The similarity between their moves became apparent while watching them play against each other and led to an interesting debate about who would be better at basketball if they switched teams (The answer is obvious).

Hakeem Olajuwon is one of the greatest basketball players to ever play in the NBA. He was known for his incredible post footwork, which influenced 1 of the greatest crossover artists in NBA history, Chris Paul.

With his trademark “Dream Shake” and arsenal of low-block maneuvers, Houston Rockets superstar Hakeem Olajuwon left one or two opposing big guys seeking for his dignity. He was also a role model for one of the finest crossover players in NBA history.

As Rockets colleagues, Steve Francis and Hakeem Olajuwon shared the court, with Dream serving as a mentor to the rookie guard. Unbeknownst to Olajuwon, Francis embraced the opportunity to learn from the guy who inspired him to create one of the finest crossovers in NBA history.

With his excellent post skills, Hakeem Olajuwon built himself a Hall of Fame career.

Hakeem Olajuwon has broken a few ankles throughout his career. He may have been the most deft post player in the game’s history.

To move away from his opponents and gain clean looks, Olajuwon used a series of shimmies and shoulder fakes. Later in his career, he used a devastating fadeaway jumper to spin off either shoulder and finish with both hands.

Dream’s footwork has a lot of centers perplexed. Defenders were convincingly up-faked into the air by him. Even stalwart defenders like David Robinson couldn’t escape being included on highlight reels.

Because of the “Dream Shake,” Olajuwon scored over 27,000 points. He also influenced future generations of athletes, including one of his future colleagues.

Olajuwon, according to Steve Francis, was the inspiration for his deadly crossover.

Early in his NBA career, Steve Francis had the pleasure of playing alongside Hakeem Olajuwon, the same player whose impressive body of work on the low block inspired the genesis of Francis’ crossover.

Francis stated he saw Dream operate in the post and concentrated on his footwork in an article for the Players’ Tribune. Although Allen Iverson became a pathfinder for Steve Franchise, the three-time All-Star stated his transition was directly influenced by Olajuwon’s video studies.

“A lot of people won’t believe this, but Hakeem had a huge effect on my game when I was younger. I used to look at his footwork and try to replicate it. What’s the point of my crossover? That isn’t Michael Jackson. That isn’t Iverson at all. Hakeem is his name. Take a look at my footwork to see Dream.”

–Steve Francis, via the Players’ Tribune, 2018.

All of Francis’ hours spent poring over tapes of Olajuwon paid off.

Due to his amazing shiftiness and lethal crossover, the No. 2 overall choice in 1999 established himself as one of the top point guards in the NBA at the turn of the century. Stevie Franchise had the ability to shift directions on a dime and kept opponents on their toes. As he cut to the hoop, he often left opposition guards in his wake and kept the ball on a string.

Unfortunately for Francis, his greatest years coincided with the end of Olajuwon’s career. Nonetheless, Dream’s previous body of work, as well as his effect on Francis, attest to his status as possibly the best center in NBA history.

Is Olajuwon the best center in history?

Hakeem Olajuwon and Steve Francis, former Houston Rockets teammates, speak during the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets game at Toyota Center on April 10, 2016, in Houston, Texas | Getty Images/Bob Levey

In the discussion over who is the best center of all time, Hakeem Olajuwon has stiff competition from Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Shaquille O’Neal. Dream, on the other hand, has a solid case.

Olajuwon is the 17th best player in terms of value above replacement. He has two championship rings and is a previous league MVP. His defensive resume, on the other hand, may be the divider.

Dream was named to nine defensive all-star teams and won three block championships. In 1993 and 1994, he won back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year awards, albeit his finest seasons may have come earlier in his career. From 1987 to 1990, Olajuwon led the NBA in defensive win shares for four straight seasons.

On defense, the Nigerian was unstoppable, and his varied offensive style inspired guards like Steve Francis. If Olajuwon isn’t the greatest center in NBA history, he’s certainly one of the most impactful.

Basketball Reference provided the statistics.

Gary Payton played with Shaquille O’Neal but believes Hakeem Olajuwon is a ‘Way Better’ Center: ‘Dream would give him 30 or 40 whenever he wanted.’

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