The 1990s in world basketball was predominantly known for one thing: Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.
the time of Jordan, we also saw the golden era of big men. With the likes of
Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, and Arvydas Sabonis making their
presence known in the world, the big man is not as integral as it used to be.
where the early-season London Lions have been breaking the mould. While the majority
of the British Basketball League, and the world of basketball has been starting
to prioritise shooting, with the added inclusion of stretch-bigs, the London
Lions have been a throwback.
Gabe Olaseni finally made his entrance to the British Basketball League with the Lions this season after spending his career throughout Europe. While the Lions last season were known for their athleticism, all-around play, and shooting, London have gone back to make Olaseni the focal point, and what a start it has been.
— British Basketball League (@britishbasketm) September 21, 2023
The British big man has been averaging 14.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, and an assist in the first three games. However, Olaseni has also picked up two Player of the Game awards and had a very strong case to three-peat after the demolition of the Manchester Giants.
performances have come from the Lions playing around the big man, homing in on
his abilities, rather than getting him to acclimate to their system.
It’s easy to see how Petar Bozic has done this. With his plethora of guards who can hit exceptional entry passes into the post, Olaseni can get to work and pick up points, offensive rebounds, or free throws.
threat very quickly becomes an inside-out threat with Bozic surrounding Olaseni
with the likes of Luke Nelson, Matt Morgan, and Donte Grantham who are all
above-average shooters from beyond the arc.
threat was clearly shown in their win over the Manchester Giants with the Lions
hitting 16 of their 27 three-point attempts.
London’s old-school approach will always make them a deadly team while most of the rest of the league is transitioning to five players being able to play on the perimeter. It’s hard to name many players who can stop Olaseni inside the paint and the majority of the league will have to hope he has a bad game to cope with London.
will continue to look deadly while playing around Olaseni, and when Sam Dekker
returns after recovering from offseason injury, this team truly becomes
Much like the early-2000s Los Angeles Lakers who were built around a dominant big man and a star wing in O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, we might be seeing something very similar with Olaseni and Dekker soon.
With the new season here, you can still get your British Basketball fix by following the League on social media or heading to our YouTube channel to relive all of the best moments from last year