Olajuwon on Embiid: 'Those are his moves now'

Embiid started playing basketball because of Olajuwon and Kobe (1:35)

Joel Embiid talks with Stephen A. Smith giving high praise to Ben Simmons and discusses how Hakeem Olajuwon and Kobe Bryant inspired him. (1:35)

Houston Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon has praised the likes of the 76ers' Joel Embiid for bringing the game into sharp focus in Africa, and also complimented the Cameroonian's impressive ball-handling skills.

The Dream has been courtside regularly for Rockets home games this season to watch potential NBA MVP James Harden, and Africans Luc Mbah a Moute and Clint Capela, take to the court.

He's been especially interested in seeing Philly star Embiid's rise to prominence this season though, with Embiid's notable similarities to Olajuwon's own game, though the Dream says #TheProcess has made the moves his own.

The Nigerian told KweséESPN that Embiid is no longer copying anyone else: "The game is different now, where you have a lot of guys with [impressive] ball handling.

"Embiid... he's got all the moves and he's doing it naturally. Those are his moves now. You have to see somebody that you watch, you like their style, and you start to imitate that style and it becomes yours.

"He's doing it perfectly."

Olajuwon, the Lagos-born Hall of Famer, now splits his time between Houston and London, where he is developing the game for British and African players. His efforts compliment the NBA Africa project and the new league Academy in Senegal.

Considering the job that the NBA has done in Africa so far, and what needs to be done to take the sport further, Olajuwon believes that exposure to the game on the continent needs to be continued and advanced.

He added: "I think we just keep promoting the game in Africa. Just giving [exposure to] guys that don't have the opportunity to be seen. So the awareness and the exposure, anywhere they play in Africa... it's [about] getting the exposure."

Talking about the development of basketball in Nigeria, The Dream noted the difference in the game now compared to when he was growing up in Lagos: "Nigeria now is exposed to NBA basketball, global basketball.

"There's tremendous talent that just needs the opportunity. There's a lot of awareness and exposure of basketball in Nigeria."

With Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri at the helm of the Canadian franchise, and former NBA and Nigeria national team player Ime Udoka on the bench for the San Antonio Spurs as an assistant coach, Africans in the league have successful role models to look up to.

These are people making an impact not only in the NBA but also in Africa, as Ujiri founded the Giants of Africa organization and camps.

"I think it's amazing just to see that we have that many talents around the league. Guys that are making an impact, not just playing in the NBA," Olajuwon said.

Olajuwon's hope is that the continued exposure to the game will cause young Africans to emulate Embiid and take up aspects of the young Cameroonian's game, in the same manner Embiid studied Olajuwon.