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In their famed rivalry, Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon both had a very different view of each other. Jordan saw Olajuwon as a “backboard” (a reference to his center’s thunderous dunks) while Olajuwon saw Jordan as a “Dollar Bill.”

Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon have always been linked. They were two of the top three players in the 1984 NBA Draft and both had NBA Hall of Fame careers. Jordan is considered the best player in history. Olajuwon is known as one of the most dominant centers in history – unless you ask Jordan.

Hakeem Olajuwon says Michael Jordan is much better than LeBron James

The two leading candidates for NBA Rookie of the Year, Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls (left) and Akeem Olajuwon of the Houston Rockets, vote on who should receive the award. Before the game starts at Summit on the 19th. March, the two were joking with each other. (Getty Images).

There has always been respect between Jordan and Olajuwon. Olajuwon was the first player selected in 1984, and Jordan was the third to be selected, ahead of center Sam Bowie, who was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers. Although injuries played a big role in Bowie’s departure from the league, Jordan proved he was the class of this draft, and Olajuwon went even further.

Houston’s center got involved in the debate a few years ago about who should be the NBA MVP. Although he praised James, he said the two were not at all comparable.

It’s an unfair comparison, Olajuwon said in a video posted by CNBC. Jordan was a much stronger player in a very tough league, and he was very creative. That doesn’t take anything away from LeBron, because he’s a great player, but it’s an unfair comparison, because Jordan is a much stronger player.

Michael Jordan would not put Hakeem Olajuwon on his list of best defenders.


Olajuwon is without a doubt the greatest center of all time. Olajuwon should be one of the five or maybe even six best centers of all time in league history. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Shaquille O’Neal would probably make the top four. Olajuwon is ranked after Moses Malone, Patrick Ewing and David Robinson.

Jordan didn’t see it that way. Just when the Bulls were on the verge of a 72-win season, he saw the game change. From now on, two-meter players will not play with their backs to the basket. They were more versatile and athletic. Jordan alluded to this because he and teammates Scottie Pippen and Tony Kukoc were versatile enough to play point guard or cover a big man.

To make his point, Jordan completely excluded Olajuwon as a center.

Just a bunch of versatile little guys at different positions, is how Jordan described his
team to Sports Illustrated during his record-breaking career. That’s how the game goes. The dominant center is beginning to dissolve. No dominant center has won a championship in eight years, and there’s no need to mention Olajuwon. He is a small striker who plays in the centre.

Olajuwon and the Rockets won two titles between Jordan’s threewins

The 2018-19 First Team All-Rookie had a team-high five rebounds in 2018 @NBADraft .

The last time the first five players were selected for the first team was in 1984-85: Hakeem Olajuwon, Sam Bowie, Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins and Charles Barkley. #NBAVault

– NBA History (@NBAHistory) May 22, 2019

Olajuwon had heard this many times before. It has often been said that the Rockets won their two NBA titles because Jordan started playing baseball. Olajuwon denies it.

You know, a lot of people say that, and it’s amazing because they pretend (the Bulls-Rockets Finals) couldn’t have happened. Orlando beat them, Olajuwon said, according to The Athletic. He played (in 1995). He missed a year. They say he missed two years, but he lost in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Against a strong Orlando team. They have Penny Hardaway, (Nick) Anderson and Shaq. He’s a monster. You beat them!

Olajuwon is right. Jordan returned in March 1995. He helped a struggling Bulls team get back on track for the playoffs, but Chicago lost to Orlando in six games.

There has always been a mutual respect between Jordan and Olajuwon. Jordan called Olajuwon a small striker – that’s odd, but it’s high praise for his athletic ability in a big man’s body.

COMPARED TO: Michael Jordan was rejected by his childhood hero

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