He went over Michael Jordan in the draft, he swept possibly the greatest Finals performer of all time in the Finals (Shaquille O’Neal), and he didn’t make our top 10.
Hakeem Olajuwon might be the best two way player to ever play the game. One, of only two players to win MVP, Finals MVP, and the DPOY. (The other is Jordan).
A lesser known, ‘what if,’ for everybody. What if the 96-97 Rockets beat the Jazz in the Conference Finals, forcing a date with the Bulls in the NBA Finals? That Rockets team featured Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, and Clyde Drexler all on their last legs. They also went 1-1 against the Bulls in the regular season that year. Would’ve been something.
Luckily, the Dream made it so we don’t have to fantasize. Winning back-to-back in 1994 and 1995. Olajuwon finished in the top five for MVP voting on five separate occasions. He sits 14th all time in rebounds, 12th in points, and 1st in blocks. His 3,830 career blocks is over 800 more than the closest active candidate by the way (Tim Duncan).
First Overall Pick 1984 – Houston Rockets
2x Finals MVP
Hall of Fame
How did the guys rank him?
The Flag Bearer: Josh Eberley, Adi Joseph, Jacob Noble, Robert Littal, Brian Geltzeiler, and Will Reeve (9).
The Barn Burner: Marc Griffin (28).
How did the other guys rank Olajuwon: Justin Rowan (10), James Holas (10), Matt Drappel (11), Shane Young (11), Justin Termine (11), Justin Salkin (11), and Lang Greene (12).
Average vote: 11.3.
#11 Sunday, September 27th.
Don’t like it? Think we got it wrong? Maybe, just maybe we got it right? Let us know using the #HCHot50 hash-tag. Or give the contributors hell, contact info below. Any tweets with #HCHot50 may be featured on the site going forward, tweet us your feedback!
Josh Eberley – hoopscritic.com / Host of the @PullUpPodcastHC, @JoshEberley
Jacob Noble – hoopscritic.com / Host of the @PullUpPodcastHC, @JacobNoble_HC
James Holas – hoopscritic.com / BballBreakdown, @SnottieDrippen
Adi Joseph – sportingnews.com, @AdiJoseph
Matt Drappel – sportsnet.ca, @MattyD416
Justin Rowan – fearthesword.com / hoopslounge.com, @Cavsanada
Robert Littal – blacksportsonline.com, @BSO
Shane Young – hoopshabit.com, @YoungNBA
Justin Termine – Sirius XM NBA / cinesport.com host, @TermineRadio
Marc Griffin – hoopslounge.com / sportsnet.ca, @montrealmarc
Lang Greene – basketballinsiders.com, @LangGreene
Justin Salkin – hoopscritic.com / brooklynsbeat.com, @brooklynsbeat
Will Reeve – awfsports.com / Host of the All Weather Fan Podcast, contributor for hoopscritic.com @WillReeveJr
and of course,
Brian Geltzeiler – hoopscritic.com / Sirius XM NBA / the-cauldron.com / 120sports.com, @hoopscritic
Links to previous #HCHot50 pages:
#50 Pete Maravich
#49 Dave Cowens
#48 Wes Unseld
#47 Dolph Schayes
#46 Paul Pierce
#45 Kevin Durant
#44 Dominique Wilkins
#43 Chris Paul
#42 Bill Walton
#41 Gary Payton
#40 Elvin Hayes
#39 Clyde Drexler
#38 Allen Iverson
#37 Steve Nash
#36 Willis Reed
#35 George Mikan
#34 Patrick Ewing
#33 Kevin McHale
#32 Jason Kidd
#31 George Gervin
#30 Walt Frazier
#29 Dwyane Wade
#28 Rick Barry
#27 Bob Cousy
#26 Scottie Pippen
#25 John Stockton
#24 David Robinson
#23 Dirk Nowtizki
#22 John Havlicek
#21 Isiah Thomas
#20 Bob Pettit
#19 Kevin Garnett
#18 Charles Barkley
#17 Karl Malone
#16 Moses Malone
#15 Elgin Baylor
#14 Julius Erving
#13 Jerry West