Hakeem Olajuwon was one of the best defenders of his time and according to Kenny Smith, Giannis Antetokounmpo is on the same level.
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.
Kenny Smith from ESPN’s ‘Inside The NBA’ believes that one current day NBA superstar is on the same level that Olajuwon was on.
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) August 25, 2019
Giannis Antetokounmpo Embodies Hakeem Olajuwon On Defense According To Kenny Smith
So, why exactly did Kenny Smith think that Giannis and Hakeem had such striking similarities? It’s all about the versatility and effort both stars displayed to make them some of the best two way athletes around.
In Kenny’s words:
“When you talk about Hakeem, you always say he’s relentless. He will go help on defense, run back on and block a shot.”
“If Hakeem was having an offensive night, he’d have 10 offensive rebounds. He could dominate the game on the offensive glass, namely three other superstars that could do that (including Giannis)…Because they [Hakeem and Giannis] can shot block, you could be a great driver and can’t score. He [Giannis] can defend you in so many different ways.”
Giannis and Hakeem are also two of the short list of NBA players in history to win both the MVP award and DPOY in the same season.
Hakeem Olajuwon would regularly display his two-way game by putting quadruple-doubles on the daily. Stat lines like these:
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) March 30, 2020
Hakeem Olajuwon recorded a quadruple-double. At the time he was only the 3rd player in NBA History to reach such an accomplishment🔥pic.twitter.com/g1PGWbAwRC
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) April 23, 2020
Perhaps recording a quadruple-double is the next step for the ‘Greek Freak’ in furthering his NBA legacy and reaching the levels of Hakeem Olajuwon.