Idan Ravin Rumors
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.’’
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.”
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.’’
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.’’
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.”
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.”
In the end, the Knicks give Anthony everything he wants, including the recent hiring of his personal trainer, Idan Ravin. There is a complete disconnect between Ravin and the Knicks’ coaching staff, who have little use for him, sources said.
This offseason, Anthony has been in Los Angeles working out with his longtime trainer, Idan Ravin, performing basketball, beach and weight workouts. Melo called it a “great summer” as he prepares for the season. “[Idan and I] are always trying to figure out what’s that next move or how we’re going to push this year. And I think we did a great job of just coming up with something and just running with it,” Melo said. “Just certain dieting things, just taking chances with different styles of training — not just doing stuff on the basketball court or in the weight room. I’m trying to just push the limit.”
“Among the many things that make him great is his willingness to evolve,” Ravin said. “We constantly look for ways to add new wrinkles to his game. Defenses and defenders become more sophisticated each year, so we always look for ways to counter this. He has been consistent and methodical with his training, as well as meticulous with his diet, avoiding the processed and refined sugars.”
There is no blueprint for Ravin’s sessions. He says he decides when he meets with a player whether the player is in the mood to work out intensely or whether it should be a shorter session. Some workouts are group sessions with several basketball players, and others are just him and a single player. Ravin’s approach is to always stay cool and never raise his voice. Each of Ravin’s drills — like one aimed at improving peripheral vision, in which he stands to a dribbling player’s side and holds up numbers for him to call out — are designed to make the difficult routine. Ravin compared the drills to a student trying to take an SAT in half an hour.
Ravin is from Maryland and may be the most unlikely of the bunch. He is a former lawyer who carries no business cards and did not play basketball past high school. He does not recruit; instead he waits for players to ask for him after hearing about him by word of mouth. “If you’re in the business of trying to sell, you’re in the business of trying to convince,” Ravin said.
Around the N.B.A., the 39-year-old Ravin is called the Hoops Whisperer because of his ability to connect with players — many of whom are stars — with methods that are a little different. These days, two of his prominent clients are Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. Together, as Knicks teammates, they are engaged in an uphill battle against Boston in the first round of the N.B.A. playoffs — Stoudemire, who had back trouble in Game 2, is hoping to play on Friday — and they can only hope that whatever Ravin has done will help. N.B.A. players often employ personal trainers to enhance aspects of their game and maintain others. The top trainers are spread out geographically. Tim Grover, who came to prominence for his work with Michael Jordan, is based in Chicago. Rob McClanaghan spends summers in Los Angeles working with Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and others.