If there’s one complaint you always hear about LeBron James, it’s that he’s an egotistical jerk who needs to not be such an arrogant punk.  If there’s a second complaint, it’s that he needs to develop a post game so that he doesn’t have to rely on his sometimes there, sometimes not jumper. You hear this all the time, even though LeBron is actually pretty good in the post.

But whatever, it still wouldn’t hurt to get better. No one has ever said, “You know, getting better is going to make me worse,” because that doesn’t make any sense and is completely contradictory. So with that in mind, LeBron is embarking upon a mission to get better and provide people something new for people to always talk about. From the AP:

He’s also trying to deliver on his vow to be even better whenever the Heat resume play, saying he’s been in Houston at times this offseason to learn post play from one of the game’s all-time greats, former Rockets star Hakeem Olajuwon.

“I look at what he was able to do throughout his career,” James said. “Unbelievable talent. Multiple champion. Just to see how he was able to dominate in the low post, for me as an individual, I just try to look at some of the things I feel I need to get better at and hit home at it. Our team becomes better if I continue to get better and that’s what it’s about.”

Those are all true things that LeBron said. Hakeem Olajuwon is an unbelievable talent who won multiple championships while dominating in the low post. And if LeBron gets better, the Heat get better. That really is what it is about. (That and the Hokey Pokey, which is what it is all about.)

And hey, if LeBron’s going to dedicate himself to spending a bunch of time with one of the best post players ever, that is very cool. He will probably get very good in the post since he is strong, jumps high and has incredible vision. It’s not ludicrous to imagine that LeBron James could be the best post player in the NBA, given the skill set he possesses.

But if LeBron spends a few hours with Hakeem, as Tas alludes to, this just becomes an annoying talking point. Just ask Stan Van Gundy. Dwight Howard spent a tiny bit of time with Hakeem last summer and that’s all you’d hear about during Magic games, even though it looked like Dwight was just mimicking the moves he’d been taught, rather than actually grasping the footwork, positioning and strategy he’d been taught. If this turns out to be a photo opportunity, forget it.

However, if it turns out that LeBron is serious about honing his post game, and he uses this extended summer to become a monster on the block, watch out. The NBA’s best player with a refined low post game is a scary thought.

Comments (7)

  1. I think he should stick to his ability to drive…and his there/not there shot….leave the post game for PF’s and C’s…in other words, chris bosh/big z….if he does get down there then im sure he will be aight, but him posting up d-howard, Noah, Horford, aint gonna b an easy task….

  2. The Hakeem low-post summer camp is the must-have accesory of the summer. Vogue magazine is calling it “the most revolutionary summer trend since the bikini”.

    Kim Kardashian said in a recent interview that she’s having her fiancee Kris sport a Hakeem camp. “Basketball players look so good with them”, she added.

    When asked if he would ever have one, hipster Dirk quickly dismissed the idea. “Nah”, he replied. He added, “I’m more into old stuff, like the Kareem hook-shot camp, which is so insta-win.”

  3. I am NO fan of LBJ, but man-oh-man i’d be stoked to see him actually add a post game. He’d be doing it around the same time Kobe added his (though Kobe had already refined his footwork, jumper, etc. by this point), only Kobe never had the post body LeBron has. If he really put the time in and develops the footwork and commits a series of moves to memory, he’s gonna destroy the league.

    @kobez – That’s just the point. He won’t be posting up Noah and Dwight. He’ll be posting up SFs/SGs and with his size/strength advantage, he’ll eat them for lunch. I’d say he’s stronger than 90 percent of PFs too. The kid NEEDS a post game. His game is calling out for it. If he continues to simply drive and hoist jumpers his career will be over in four years. He’s got to start putting together his “old man game” NOW.

    I’m very pleased to hear LeBron is working with the Dream.

  4. Why don’t him and Kobe have a Jordan training camp? So MJ can teach LBJ and Kobe the various ways in which they lack compared to his airness.

    The only reason LeBonk’s post game is now a key talking point is because Miami have no real post threat.
    Bosh can shoot, but I still wouldn’t call him in anyway something teams need to worry about in the post.

  5. @trj I don’t know how much Jordan could teach Kobe at this point. Kobe is the Michael Jackson of basketball- he’s able to imitate any move (from Jordan’s late-career fallaway to the dream shake) basically to perfection. Kobe has a deeper bag of tricks and more finely hewn basketball instincts than anyone playing today. He and Jordan might be able to run a joint camp together, but somehow I don’t see that happening. And as far as LeBron is concerned, I don’t think you can *teach* killer instinct or late-game focus, so i’m pretty sure Jordan’s tutoring would be wasted on him as well.

    And LeBron’s post game has been a topic of conversation for YEARS. People have been begging him to develop a low block game since about his third or fourth year in Cleveland.

  6. @Martin
    There’s a deeper level to this when I say camp, I mean mentored/advised by.
    Things to be learnt off MJ wouldn’t exclusively be just on court. if so, more off it.

    Was Jordan ever as openly hated around the league as much as these two have been?

    I’d say no, but if he was, I think he’d know how to deal with it better than they have over the years so far.
    And more importantly Jordan speaking directly to Kobe and LJB they would at least think about listening. Considering the source. Which at least for LeBonk seems to be his biggest problem.

    Sure, his decision making off the court, isn’t what has made MJ a great player.
    But has it affected his legacy?
    Possibly, as much as people don’t like to admit it
    What’s the worse thing MJ has done that you can think of?
    It’s all off the court.
    When he went to baseball?
    More recent things these days?
    Doing a shit job while in Charlotte and Washington etc.
    Now think of the best,
    His Shoes? His Branding? That Hole in One Golf shot I remember seeing?
    Countless rings? MVP’s?

    I rest my case.

    They are both at interesting points in their careers.
    Kobe- I think does know better, but things should get interesting without Phil jackson around. Pau is not Pippen, obviously.

    Lebron to be honest I thought would have been managed a lot better this year since Riley is running things in Miami. But with Wade beside LBJ he’s just made to look worse.

    I’d put it this way…
    Who would you rather have on your team?
    Durrant?
    Rose?
    Kobe?
    or Lebron?

    Yeah, I thought so.

  7. @tjr

    Jordan was never openly hated because he lived in era of relative privacy and therefore had the luxury of being able to craft his brand and personal narrative without interference. I know it sounds ridiculous, since of course Jordan was hounded as much as any celebrity of his time, but it was nowhere NEAR the level of media saturation that LeBron and Kobe have to deal with. Not only has the internet exponentiated the level of commentary and made even more granular the degree to which athletes and celebrities are analyzed.

    Furthermore, Athletes have been given relative autonomy through twitter and a more aggressively solicitous media to speak for themselves. I think that Jordan, like Kobe, would handle that aspect well, but insofar as Jordan’s impenetrable “likeability”, there is no WAY that would have been achieved had he played today.

    Jordan is, again, like Kobe, a grade-A asshole. Probably a lot more so, even. With today’s constant media exposure and appetite for “candid”, “raw” and “behind the scenes” content, that fact would have been made much more apparent to the general public. He still would have been loved, but he would have been a polarizing figure. We live in a polarized age, and there is no more room for universally loved heroes.

    On to your argument though- I’m not entirely sure what you’re saying. What has Kobe done “on the court” that has been to his or his legacy’s detriment? I can’t think of a single thing. Like Jordan, he’s a consummate professional, works his ass off, basically runs practice, and plays every game like God is watching. Your point makes sense with regard to LeBron, but I still don’t see any evidence that Kobe Bryant would benefit in any way from a tutorial relationship with Michael Jordan.

    Finally- while neither you nor anybody can be blamed for doing so, the mythology of Jordan blinds a lot of people from logical and objective comparisons. People get REALLY cagey when anybody even makes a parallel involving MJ. I think the diehard Jordan people are scared of Bryant, because his legacy is clearly the closest thing to MJ’s. But I’d council you all to relax- Kobe is his own man, and, of course, his legacy will NEVER be regarded on the same level as Jordan’s simply by virtue of the respective eras they played in.

    And I agree that next year will be interesting without Jackson, but are you REALLY gonna put your thumb on the scale like that? As if Kobe’s legacy depends on his ability to win without Jackson? Kobe Bryant has exactly NOTHING left to prove. A fistful of championship rings say as much. And, remember, Jordan didn’t win a damned thing without Jackson either. I’D say that if Kobe manages to win a title without Jackson, something Jordan never did, then the argument of their relative places in history becomes reopened.

    And your final point- the rhetorical question of who I’d rather have on my team…. It isn’t clear what point you’re trying to make. You clearly see the answer as so obvious that you’re able to put the matter to rest, but I don’t see it as such.

    How long do I have the player for? If it’s for 1-3 years, I’m taking Kobe from that group. 3-5, I’m taking LeBron. 5-7, I’m taking Durant. Even if the answer is just “indefinitely”, I’m pretty sure I’d lose some sleep over whether to take Durant or LeBron. I think KD is going to have an insane year (if we have a season) and will battle with Blake Griffin for MVP.

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