Six-time NBA All-Star forward Amare Stoudemire “can’t wait” to explore the moves he has learned from former Rockets star Hakeem Olajuwon when he returns to play with the N.Y. Knicks.
Stoudemire has been in Houston for about a week working with the Hall of Fame center.
“It’s always room to improve as a player,” Stoudemire said in an interview with FOX 26 Sports. “To want to be the best is always a common denominator for most players.
“So working with Hakeem, one of the best players to ever play the game, is a great opportunity for me. We are both very quick and athletic for our positions. So to learn from him will be a great advantage for me.”
Stoudemire said it is fantastic to work with a guy who has accomplished so much in the NBA.
Olajuwon won two NBA championships with the Rockets and is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
“That’s the route I hope to take with my career, is to eventually get to the Hall of Fame and win multiple championships,” Stoudemire said. “To learn from a guy and pick up the same characteristics as he has and apply them to myself is going to be awesome for me.”
And Stoudemire already notices the improvement in his game in just the short time he has been with working with Olajuwon.
“He helped me a lot,” Stoudemire said. “A lot of moves that he has really, really translate to my game. To now develop a post game is going to be remarkable for me. It’s going to catch a lot of my opponents off guard and it’s going to be a great year for me.
“I have the IQ to implement this and learn fast, but it’s not easy. There’s a lot of detail that goes into it. He’s very, very swift with his footwork, and he’s very agile also, at (age) 50 still. It’s great to learn from him. This is a great opportunity because you never how long he’s going to be able to do this. So while I’m young and can still learn from one of the best, (I’m) very blessed to be a part of it.”
Knicks coach Mike Woodson, who played with Olajuwon when the two were with the Rockets, thought working with Hakeem would be a good way for Stoudemire to add some weapons to his repertoire.
“Coach Woodson wanted to develop my post game and he knew I had it in me,” Stoudemire said. “He called up a good friend Hakeem and Hakeem said, ‘sure no problem.’
“We both play a similar position. He’s an athletic center and I’m an athletic forward, but he’s played as a four. He’s known as a basketball player. Same as myself being able to adapt to any environment and play to the best of my ability, so to learn from him is awesome.”
Stoudemire is ready to try out the new part of his game on the opposition right now.
“I can’t wait. I can’t wait,” said Stoudemire.
Read more: myfoxhouston.com