It’s National Mentoring month and @Sixers rookie stud @JoelEmbiid gets some sage advice from Hall of Famer Hakeem @DR34M Olajuwon! pic.twitter.com/1QrGYdKYQi— NBA (@NBA) January 17, 2017
Joel Embiid’s affinity for Hakeem Olajuwon has never been a secret. Comparisons were made between the smooth-moving centers from the moment Embiid burst onto the scene at Kansas. He invited the comparisons after he was drafted, saying he wanted to be a do-it-all force like The Dream.
Embiid’s desire to make an impact on both ends of the court hasn’t been lost on the elder statesman. In the clip you see above, Embiid discusses one of his basketball inspirations in between highlight segments and Olajuwon himself talking about what he sees in The Process.
You could do a lot worse than an endorsement from Olajuwon. For my money, he might be one of the most under-discussed great players ever; he was a two-way force from his first professional season on, making All-Star teams in 12 of his first 13 seasons. His total evisceration of peers during the time period, David Robinson, Patrick Ewing, and young Shaquille O’Neal among them, looks even more remarkable as time passes.
Olajuwon has gained a second wave of notoriety in recent years for mentoring players looking to add post moves, most notably LeBron James and Dwight Howard. Embiid could surely benefit from looking to Olajuwon for advice as his game matures, and if Olajuwon can turn some of Embiid’s natural talent into instinct, there’s no telling what his ceiling might be.
The basketball world is starting to realize just how good Embiid is. Validation from one of his heroes has to feel pretty damn good.