Olajuwon & Ewing

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).

The Resume:

First Overall Pick 1984 – Houston Rockets

12x All-Star

12x All-NBA

9x All-Defense



2x Finals MVP

2x Champion

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.


dream and shaq


#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:

HCHot50 Intro / Missed the Cut

#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

One comment

  1. I’m a little confused at this low ranking. I feel like Hakeem’s all-around excellence is overlooked, even when mentioned here. We’re speaking of a big man who had nothing you could exploit.

    A smaller defender was toast in the paint, a larger defender was left flat footed. Leave him open he knocks down the 18 footer easily, crowd him and he finds the open man. Foul him late…he makes his free throws. He couldn’t be rattled and he never buckled.

    The greatest defender in my lifetime who could comfortably check a point guard if necessary, a nifty stat which wasn’t mentioned was his top ten finish in all-time steals.

    The best post-player the game has seen and the blueprint for the big man who could put the ball on the floor.

    Finally, he was the entire foundation for his team offensively and defensively. It all rested on Hakeem and he led like a champion. I’m not sure there are many players who carried that kind of responsibility.

    It’s all been fantastic reading though. Loving the work put into it.

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