This is the part people don’t know. Olowokandi didn’t grow up like the rest of us. He didn’t play basketball until he got to college. He was like on some real Prince Akeem stuff (Coming to America) living overseas and said he wanted to come to college in California. He picked Pacific. The coach saw him on campus like, “Come here, son. You need to do this (basketball).” He had never played basketball before. Olowokandi played more soccer. To know that he went from never playing to becoming the No. 1 pick, that’s an accomplishment. People that pick up basketball that late don’t get to go to the NBA and be a professional athlete.
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Darius Miles on Michael Olowokandi: When he was playing with us, he was putting it together just like all of us. All of us had some type of talent in us to do a lot of things. Everybody had their own niche. That’s why it worked so much. We pushed each other, and we rooted for each other just as hard. With him, he was just trying to put it together. He was the No. 1 pick. He tried his best to be as good as he could be, and he was a good teammate.
Quentin Richardson: You have to look at the timing of everything. When you throw the names out there, it sounds crazy. When you look at the timing of everything and meshing of everything, it was like mixing oil with (inaudible). You had Larry Brown, who was an all-time great coach, one of my favorite coaches, but we all know coach Brown is one of the most stern coaches there was. You had guys like Jalen Rose, Stephon Marbury, Steve Francis, Kelvin Cato, Jerome James. All these veteran guys were more towards the backend of their careers than their primes. Then you had David Lee and Jamal Crawford. Lee was a rookie when he got there. Nate Robinson was a rookie. Renaldo Balkman was a rookie. The mix was crazy. It was a chaotic culture they came into. That was the reason why everything was going haywire at the time.
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August 7, 2022 | 3:16 am EDT Update
Make no mistake, though: Much as Wood seemed to revel in the chance to take a breather and hang with young fans, he said he’s wholly focused on the possibilities that lie ahead with his tenure on the Mavs. “It’s a great opportunity for me and for this organization to try and take that next step,” Christian Wood said. “I just want to win games. My main objective is to try and get to the Finals.”
“I’m still counting my blessings and happy to be here,” he said. Specifically, the 6-foot-9 center was speaking about being a Maverick. But on Thursday, that gratitude could also extend to his time with the kids he got to work out with in Plano. “I was once that little kid that would look up to NBA players and hope that he would sign my shoe or hope that I would be able to meet him in person,” he said. “With kids, I can be myself and I can be a kid myself. So it’s fun.”
Anze Macek, the kinesiologist who has been working with Doncic for the past two years, gave some insight about the regime change the Slovenian wunderkind took this offseason. “Shortly after the end of the season, he contacted me and said that he wanted to start fitness training immediately. Together with Goran Dragic, they worked for three weeks,” Macek said to SportKlub Slovenija. “The national team action followed. When he went on vacation, he asked me for a work plan.”
“He remains active,” he said. “I am in contact with him almost on a daily basis. He keeps his shape. He will improve everything during the national team practices where he will prepare with maximum effort.” The comments about his body have no real impact on Luka, Macek says. On the contrary, they drive him forward, the Slovenian team fitness coach is certain.
“Luka is a global star. In plain sight. People follow him every step of the way, as far as possible. Therefore, evil tongues also appear very quickly. Maybe they are trying to get to him by commenting on each photo. But that’s really not a good way,” Macek explained. “He always has an answer. This only further motivates him and drives him forward.”