NBA Players Turn To ‘Hoops Whisperer’ For Help

A 6-foot, 38-year-old former New York lawyer with no playing or coaching experience is the most sought-after personal trainer among NBA circles? Such is the aura & mystique of a man known as the Hoops Whisperer.

Idan Ravin Hoops Whisperer

Hannah Karp of the WALL STREET JOURNAL bounces along the story of Idan Ravin, the attorney-turned-trainer who was raised an orthodox Jew, but has many NBA stars like Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Gilbert Arenas proclaiming “Mazeltov!” at his unorthodox training techniques.

What’s the secret to Ravin’s success? For one, he likes to throws tennis balls at his players:

Mr. Ravin’s goal is to create so much chaos and stress on a player during workouts that the physical game becomes less cerebral and more automatic. He uses a combination of humbling psychological tactics and exhausting, unorthodox and sometimes spontaneous drills. He’s been known to fire tennis balls at players while they’re dribbling or make them stare straight ahead while dribbling two balls in each hand in uneven rhythms and walking from side to side.

It may all sound somewhat silly, but some stars swear by Ravin’s ruthless routines. Carmelo & Elton Brand credit Idan for improving their ball-handling skills. CP3 turns to him in the summer to further work on his footwork. And before Agent Zero made his recent return to the line-up, he spent his rehab with Ravin.

Best of all, Ravin is reasonably priced (at least for NBA millionaires):

Mr. Ravin, doesn’t own a gym. He doesn’t have employees and advertises his services on a modest Web site. He doesn’t offer weights or strength exercises and focuses only on a client’s weaknesses. He works on a sliding scale, asking his clients to pay what they think is fair. Some players say they might pay $1,000 to $2,000 to keep him on retainer for a week, though Mr. Ravin says occasionally he gets paid in meals or shoes.

And what if his snacks-and-sneakers income is a bit low that week?

To make ends meet, Mr. Ravin operates a group of ethnic dating sites from his laptop — including Ethiopian Personals and Eligible Greeks.

So, not only can Idan Ravin offer you a strenuous physical & psychological workout, he can also set you up with some amorous ladies from Athens to Addis Ababa. Sounds like a good deal.