When the battle for the Lone Star State was happening during the 1990s in the NBA, little did NBA fans know that they were getting a glimpse in to the future of the NBA.
In a recent interview with Men’s Fitness, David Robinson discussed his military service, the current state of the NBA,along with his playing career.
In the 1990s, the center position was evolving away from the plodding big man who ate up space down low and plodded up and down the court; to an athlete with grace that could fly up and down the court while not being pushed around down low.
In Robinson’s mind:
“Skill-wise, I’d have to say Hakeem. He could really do anything. Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal) was a great physical specimen. I mean, 7 foot, 350 pounds. There wasn’t anybody like him. Those are probably the two best guys.”
While Shaquille O’Neal is undoubtedly the most unstoppable force (when he chose to play) in the NBA, the battles between Hakeem Olajuwan and David Robinson showcased two legends that were comfortable in both post and out on the floor.
Robinson showed the merits of hitting the gym to enable a big man keep his strength to be a force in the low post.
Dwight Howard and rest of the chiseled big men were able to maintain their strength while maintaining their athleticism and flexibility.
Olajuwan brought a small forwards agility to the low post game due to his years of improving his footwork while playing soccer in his native country of Nigeria.
Olajuwan’s game was so impressive that even ten years after he has finished playing, the games top players (LeBron James and Dwight Howard) are using him as a resource to help improve their games.