(Dream talking about his introduction to B-Ball)
At the national stadium, the handball court is next to the basketball court. Every time the basketball coach would see me, he would tell me, “Handball is not your sport. Basketball is your sport.” The coach, Coach Ganiu, tried to get me onto the basketball court for a long time. When he finally did, the team was practicing. He called the assistant coaches and the rest of the team to one side of the court, and he called a point guard and me to the other side. He gave me the concept of my position [center] in basketball, of how important it is. It was unbelievable the way he described my role—I clearly saw myself doing it. He said, “This is the paint—you know, it’s painted red, because that’s blood. It’s very physical in there. And you, in your position, rule that lane. You rule the court. You rule the middle.” He gave me this concept of domination: Dominate the middle, dominate the paint, you know? Anything that’s in the paint, you’re dunking it on offense. You don’t think layup or any other shot. When you get a ball in the paint, there’s no different thought: You go in for a dunk. ES: That explains the Phi Slama Jama mentality at the University of Houston—you were already a dunking machine.
HO: Exactly. When you dunk on people, they start getting out of your way. And on defense, the concept Coach Ganiu gave me was the same: Anything that comes in, you block it. He told me to come back for two more practices. And during those he would stop everything if I didn’t get the ball. He would tell all the players on the team, “Anytime you see my big man run the floor, you have to give him the ball.”
ES: You were literally the center of everything.
HO: It was a privilege. I played the most important position on the team.
Dream tried to impart that "center is primal" mentality to yao. Yao was too nice. He was not made to demand anything. Yao could have been killin people on the court. 7'5" with a soft shooting touch? damn....