Respecting Hakeem: Mark West's Experience With The All-Time Great
Mark West (@mwest41) is the Vice President of Player Programs and is also an assistant coach for the Phoenix Suns of the NBA. His roles focus on the business of basketball, player relations and development and community representation. As a player, he competed for 17 seasons in the NBA, six with the Suns, helping them reach the 1993 NBA Finals. He currently ranks third in NBA History in field goal percentage.
When asked which opponent he respected the most during his playing days, West explains that Hakeem Olajuwon was the ultimate competitor. West describes Olajuwon as a "monster" because he was so difficult to guard and could beat opponents in many different ways.
However, what West admired most about Hakeem was his ability to be fair and follow the phrase "shut up and just play" even in the heat of the competitive moment. In West's experience, even when players got 'chippy' in the heat of the moment, Hakeem respected his opponents enough to know fairness and move on simply playing the game of basketball.