Idan Ravin Rumors
The days of coaches looking at a player’s offseason workout regimen, skeptical of the work load and maybe the credentials of whatever personal guru was administering it, appear to be over. Just as teams’ medical staffs have grown accustomed to injured players seeking out second opinions from orthopedists of their choosing, so have they gotten used to cooperating with, and sometimes embracing, their guys’ trainers into a comprehensive, full-calendar fitness program. Now some of the trainers who work with NBA stars far away from the lights and the cameras may be stars. Rob McClanaghan, Tim Grover, Idan Ravin, Chris Johnson and several others have or have had devoted followings among the league’s biggest names. A facility in Santa Barbara, Calif., called Peak Performance Project – “P3” for short – is a Mecca for players seeking the latest and greatest in bio-mechanics and training techniques.
Working behind the scenes, trainer Idan Ravin has been an integral part of the lives of three key Knicks. He also is the unlikeliest of basketball gurus — son of Israeli parents. Hebrew is his first language despite a suburban Maryland upbringing. Ravin, who has a law degree, worked reluctantly as an attorney before ditching that career to train NBA players. His offbeat basketball resume — coming out of a Jewish high school league in Maryland and being the last walk-on cut by the University of Maryland — led him to write a book released three weeks ago, “The Hoops Whisperer: On the Court and Inside the Head of Basketball’s Best Players.’’
As much influence as Anthony’s CAA agents, Leon Rose and William Wesley, have on the Knicks star, so does Ravin. “[Anthony is] thoughtful, considerate, generous, compassionate, authentic, purposeful, a great father with a great wife,’’ Ravin told The Post. “Everybody wants to be dismissive of that because we don’t associate it with superstars.’’
Ravin said critics want to paint Anthony a “diva,” calling him selfish because of his scoring prowess. “You can be selfish and pass the ball a lot,’’ Ravin said. “Passers can be stat-stuffers, too. “I’ve tried to make the complicated simple for him.”
Ravin doesn’t hold back when telling of his dealings with Smith. But Ravin ultimately does defend the streaky Knicks shooting guard as a ferocious worker when in the gym. Ravin told The Post regarding last season’s shoe-lace-untying caper: “If it was an NBA superstar, people would’ve just said how much he has everything in perspective because of his sense of humor.’’
He adjusts each workout to the player’s mood: “I don’t have a manual to give you. It’s day-to-day. It’s a conversation. It’s a message. It’s a text message. It’s a voice of encouragement, a pat on the back. It’s not like I’m giving them a pill.” Consider Ravin’s willingness to overlook J.R. Smith’s persistent lateness. “I believe in him so much, what I felt for him was more frustration [than anger],” he comments. “I wanted [success] so much for him. He’s an amazing human. I will never abandon him. I’ll be there for him. He’s a work in progress, like we all are.”
Some coaches look askance at Ravin because of his relationship with players over whom they feel a sense of ownership. “There’s always a level of distrust. [Coaches want to know] ‘who is that’ and ‘what’s he doing.’ That’s the nature of professional sports,” Ravin says. “I never concern myself with that. My only focus is to make these players better. I’m not trying to substitute for something; I’m just trying to complement whatever exists.”