Standing 7-foot-2 and weighing somewhere north of 275 lbs., Roy Hibbert is one of the biggest guys in all the NBA. He’s a skilled center who made his first All-Star team this season and figures to make a few more in the future. At 25, he’s one of the league’s 10 best centers and a reminder that simply being tall and coordinated — not to discredit his game, but this guy is seriously very big and that is his main strength because 86 is a lot of inches to be — is a huge advantage in basketball, no duh.
But it wasn’t always like that. In fact, when Roy Hibbert first got to Georgetown, he was embarrassingly weak. And according to him, it’s that embarrassment that ultimately made him in to an NBA player. From Grantland:
Cut to 2004, Hibbert’s first year at Georgetown. In an early fall workout, Hibbert lay prostrate in the weight room, watched by strength coach Mike Hill. He’d hit the ground to bang out a few push-ups, but a problem soon became clear: Hibbert couldn’t do one. So while women’s soccer and lacrosse players looked on, Hill straddled the freshman big man, reached down, and grabbed him by the sides, pulling him up and pushing him down while Hibbert struggled to pitch in. “It was humiliating,” Hibbert says. “All these girls are watching — they can do push-ups but I can’t.” Not only could Hibbert not do a push-up, he couldn’t bend his knees enough to do a single squat, even without holding weights.
If Hollywood ever makes a movie about Roy Hibbert’s life (starring Michael Clarke Duncan or Mark Cooper, depending on the film’s tone), this will be an important scene — 19-year-old Roy Hibbert is trying to prove to himself that he can be a basketball player, but he can’t even do a single pushup in front of a bunch of girls. Humiliated, Hibbert devotes himself to getting stronger and better. Eventually, he becomes an All-Star and runs in to one of the girls who laughed at him earlier. Then, depending on where you want to go with things, he either shuns her for his true love or realizes that she is what made him what he is today. Roll credits. All the Oscars, please.
Reading this article, you can see that this is pretty much how things actually happened, except for the epilogue. Huge but weak man-child enters college, gets shamed by some ladies, uses that as motivation to become an NBA player. It’s kind of amazing, really. The human desire to avoid embarrassment is strong enough that it can turn someone in to an NBA All-Star, provided they are gigantic and are blessed with solid basketball instincts. I’m not sure how us normal people can harness that power, but it’s certainly worth investigating. After all, that’s exactly how Mark Zuckerberg became a billionaire.