So this is happening right now: Dwight, Olajuwon and McHale. Can confirm dream shake as potent as ever. pic.twitter.com/ZYmyynSOYY
— Jason Friedman (@JasonCFriedman) August 12, 2013
Captured by Jason Friedman of Rockets.com, the shot above may be the most compelling in Houston Rockets history. Numerous other iconic images come to mind–Clyde clasping hands with Hakeem following the Game 4 clincher in ’95, the Elie “kiss of death”, McGrady riding Shawn Bradley like a horse–but I’m not so sure any other has so thoroughly captured the imagination, at least speaking personally.
Some weeks earlier, I described the prospect of Olajuwon and McHale training with Howard, prior to having seen an actual image, describing it as “basketball porn.” To borrow from one Supreme Court justice, “I know it when I see it,” and now I’ve seen it.
So many thoughts and questions come to mind. Has any more formidable positional trio anywhere, in any sport, ever trained together? Olajuwon is universally acclaimed as the most awe-inspiringly skilled big man in history; McHale, most would consider, is amongst the tops in fundamental soundness. And Howard, of course, is the consensus best big man in the league. I’m asking that question honestly. You’d really have to dig deep to find a comparison.
To be a fly somewhere on that backboard. Hopefully I’ll get my chance sometime this year after practice, but I doubt it – Olajuwon allegedly will still spend much of the year in Jordan. I walked in last summer on McHale tutoring Hasheem Thabeet and Jordan Hill one day in camp and admittedly, for a basketball junkie like myself, that in itself, was fascinating. But this…
What is McHale thinking as he looks on? What happened next after that? Did McHale then take his turn and show his way of doing the same move? I think it’s the absolute and complete contrast in styles between Olajuwon and McHale–fluid and rhythmic vs. mechanical efficacy–which really blows me away. Like learning to write from both William Shakespeare and William Strunk, in tandem.
Then, of course, there is Howard, teeming with potential, already the game’s best, watching…absorbing. Time will tell if he learns.