7’0 Hakeem Olajuwon uniquely flexed his dominance against Shaquille O’Neal and Patrick Ewing 11/11 times in the Finals
|Published August 16, 2022
Hakeem Olajuwon is one of the most skilled centers in NBA history, and when it came time to prove his dominance, he showed up against Shaquille O’Neal and Patrick Ewing.
Hakeem ‘The Dream’ Olajuwon finished his career as the NBA’s all-time leader in blocks with a whopping 3,830 of them. For comparison, Dikembe Mutombo is second on that list with 3,289.
The gap is large, and it’s a testament to how great of a rim protector Hakeem really was. Therefore, if you’re going to compare any one to him when it comes to defense, you better have something concrete to back it up.
However, Hakeem was a gifted scorer as well. He mastered the art of low post scoring, using his feet to get defenders to bite on fakes and trick them. The ‘dream shake’ became synonymous with the seven footer.
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Hakeem Olajuwon bested Shaquille O’Neal and Patrick Ewing in Finals appearances
When Jordan retired from the NBA, for the first time, he created shockwaves in the league. Someone of his caliber retiring so early raised questions. After all, he was just coming off a three-peat and looked to be in the best position of his career.
Jordan’s retirement also created a window of opportunity for other teams to seep in and challenge for the NBA championship. The Rockets were one of those teams.
Houston made the Finals both seasons Jordan was out, and led by Hakeem, they won both titles as well. In the 1993-94 season, they matched up against the Patrick Ewing led Knicks and Olajuwon absolutely dominated.
He averaged 26.9 points per game to Ewing’s 18.9 points per game. Houston won the series 4-3. Then in the 1994-95 season, Hakeem and the Rockets made history by being the lowest seed to win a championship when the won as the sixth seed.
That year, Hakeem faced Shaquille O’Neal, and once more, he showed he was leagues above. He averaged 32.8 points per game compared to Shaq’s 29.5. The Rockets swept the Magic 4-0. In fact, in all 11 Finals games, Hakeem was the leading scorer.
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