By: Rahat Huq
I can't stop watching this. When Hakeem moves, birds take flight. The sun sets brilliantly in the horizon. A cool summer breeze fills the air. This is beauty in motion. Cue other imagery.
Hakeem, man. I didn't appreciate you as a 10-year-old kid. I thought those dance moves were normal or just kind of cool. I didn't realize if you played today, you'd break the internet with a nightly Vine. And I'm embarrassed that I wanted to trade you for Doug Christie, Kevin Willis, the #5, and #12 when that was on the table.
Two things come to mind watching this clip. First, I've never found the right word to describe Dream's movements. 'Fluidity' doesn't suffice. There's a certain rounded, liquid quality to the way he moves on those spins that isn't imitable even by the closest greats in the footwork department in Kobe and Michael Jordan. I don't know how to expound.
Second, what makes Steph Curry so entertaining, and what makes it unfortunate that Hakeem missed the Internet era, is that both players' styles embody the term 'imagination'. There have been other greats, even the greatest of the great, but they all were/are improving upon things that are already in our conscious, or putting their personal flavor upon the move itself. Kobe basically was Jordan, and Jordan himself was just taking things that Dr. J was already doing. Shaq was just a more powerful version of other big men. And even Iverson's crossover was just an exaggerated version of something already created. But Hakeem and Steph Curry did things that people don't think is in the realm of possibility. It's not that a pullup 3-pointer is inherently more difficult than a Jordan turnaround, but people just don't do it. How did this become a conversation about Curry?
Hakeem, of course, shared the court for team Africa with Dikembe Mutombo, a pairing that could have been possible, as I tweeted earlier in the week. Recall that the first iteration of the Barkley trade would have seen Houston send Sam Cassell and Robert Horry to Denver, Mutombo to Phoenix, and Charles to Houston - meaning Houston could have kept Mutombo for themselves, had they desired. Would opponents have ever scored?