You'd like to think that there are signature moves that certain athletes will always be able to pull off from now until the end of time, no matter how old they get. Father time can steal their pure speed and pure strength, but their dexterity and muscle memory will allow them to reach back and take us go back in time, even if it's just for a moment.
It's what every old timers baseball game, every senior's tour golf event, and every Nina Hartley adult film is predicated on. The allure of nostalgia.
Over the weekend, we got a sweet dose of that nostalgia in Houston. It actually took place over in Johannesberg, South Africa at Ellis Park Arena on Saturday. The NBA sent a group of stars overseas, and Saturday's game was the first in a series of exhibition games they will be playing. The game reached a fever pitch in the second quarter when African legends Hakeem Olajuwon and Dikembe Mutombo ripped off their business suits to reveal the NBA uniforms of the teams they're most closely associated with — Olajuwon with the Rockets and Mutombo with the Denver Nuggets.
The two were not in the game very long. Olajuwon is 52 years old now, so the last thing he needs to be doing is galloping up and down the floor with today's thoroughbreds. However, he was in the game long enough to show us some of that aforementioned muscle memory, bringing the house down with this "dream shake"….
The current players were among the most giddy over Dream's exploits. Courtesy of ESPN.com:
"That's one of the most memorable experiences ever," said Chris Paul, one of the team captains. "I told Dream, if he's still moving like that at his age now, I couldn't imagine him in his day."
Um, well, CP3, let me tell you, he was goddamn amazing back in the day...
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As for the game itself, after a first half with the lax pace of an NBA All-Star Game, the game got more intense in the second half. Paul's Team World rallied with a 14-0 run in the fourth quarter to beat Team Africa, captained by Luol Deng, 101-97. Washington's Bradley Beal led Team World with 18 points, and Paul had 12. Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo had 22 points to lead Team Africa.
The South African exhibition was the NBA's biggest step into Africa so far, and NBA commissioner adam Silver has intimated that the next step could be a preseason or possibly even a regular season game being played on that continent. Saturday's game was a good first step, and a fun step back in time for Rockets fans.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast.