There’s no question that Michael Jordan was one of the best competitors during his time in the NBA. Jordan never walked away from the big moments, and he always was up for the challenge.
According to a former NBA player, Jordan did not want any parts of one of the best big men ever to play the game, and that was Hakeem Olajuwon.
Hakeem Olajuwon’s successful NBA career
Jordan and Olajuwon were both drafted in the 1984 NBA draft. The Rockets selected Olajuwon first overall, and the Chicago Bulls took Jordan at No. 3. Nicknamed ‘Hakeem the Dream,’ Olajuwon immediately made an impact when he came into the league. The big man was very skilled and could do things that other big men could not do.
At the end of his rookie season, Olajuwon averaged 20.6 points and 11.9 rebounds per game. The man was a double-double machine and was a big part of the Rockets’ success. Olajuwon also dominated on the defensive side. He made multiple NBA All-Defensive teams throughout his career.
During the 1994 season, Olajuwon may have had the best season in his career. During the season, he was named the MVP and also took the Rockets to the NBA Finals, which they won. He was also named the NBA Finals MVP. The next year the Rockets would win their second straight title, and the center won his second NBA Finals MVP.
The numbers don’t lie, looking at Olajuwon’s stats. During his 18-year career, he finished averaging 21.8 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. He led the NBA in rebounds twice and in blocks three times. Looking at his numbers, no one had an answer for Olajuwon.
Robert Horry said Michael Jordan feared Olajuwon
Seven-time NBA champion Robert Horry talked about how Jordan feared to play against Olajuwon. Horry spent time playing with Olajuwon in Houston and knows how good of a player he was. “If you ask Michael Jordan what one guy he ever feared, it was Hakeem Olajuwon,” Horry said in a 2016 interview at the Basketball Hall of Fame. So, what made Horry make a bold statement like that?
Olajuwon had some impressive stats when he played against Jordan and the Bulls. In the 21 games that the two faced off, Olajuwon averaged 23.4 points, 11.7 rebounds, 3.5 blocks, and 1.9 steals. The Rockets went 12-9 during those games, and Olajuwon dominated in those games on every level. If you have watched Olajuwon played before or even highlights, you could see how creative he was, especially in the post. He made moves that people did not see other big men make at the time.
Two of the best in NBA history
Jordan and Olajuwon are both in the Hall of Fame and for good reasons. Both players were dominant in the positions they played, and they won multiple championships. If these two players played on the same team, just think of how dominant they could have been in the league.
When you think of the bests to ever play the game of basketball, it’s hard not to mention Michael Jordan or Hakeem Olajuwon, what they did for the NBA open the doors for many of the current players we see in the NBA today.