Hakeem Olajuwon crossed over Shaquille O’Neal from near the perimeter and got the bucket to fall when going up against the Orlando Magic.
The mid 90s saw two of the best centers in the NBA go at one another in some of the best duels the league had ever seen take place in the paint. Shaquille O’Neal and Hakeem Olajuwon duked it out regardless of the stage they were on, regular season or the NBA Finals.
Surprisingly enough, Shaquille O’Neal actually leads the all time series against Hakeem Olajuwon as he’s won 17 times out of the 28 times that they have met each other on NBA hardwood. This is taking into account the 1995 NBA Finals that saw ‘The Dream’ decimate the Orlando Magic with averages of 32 and 11.
Though Olajuwon dominated in the 1995 Finals, overall, Shaq had his number in the stats department as well. In those 28 games against the Rockets legend, the 4x champ averaged 24 points and 12 rebounds while the former averaged 19.7 points and 9 rebounds a game.
Shaquille O’Neal gets crossed up by Hakeem Olajuwon.
Hakeem Olajuwon has perhaps the best footwork out of any player that’s played in the league. Sure, guys like Kobe Bryant could battle him for this title but ‘The Dream’ was the first to put his opponents in the spin cycle. With great footwork, came a decent handle and the ability to cross over guys slower than him, like Shaquille O’Neal.
In the video shown, Marv Albert can be heard being quite impressed with a simple crossover move that gets Hakeem Olajuwon into the lane while crossing over Shaq in the process. The 2x champ got the bucket to fall as he showcased his versatility from way out on the perimeter.
Shaquille O’Neal has never been known as someone who could play great defense when taken out of the paint. The 300+ pounder isn’t all too mobile to do anything about Hakeem’s cross on him, leading to an easy basket.