Michael Jordan is considered by many to be one of the greatest players of all time. Known for his competitive spirit, Jordan was often regarded as a player who feared no one. He went into every game expecting one outcome, a win. However, in 2016, seven-time NBA Champion Robert Horry revealed that there was one player that MJ feared. It was none other than Houston Rockets legend and Hall of Famer, Hakeem Olajuwon.
Hakeem Olajuwon and Michael Jordan. Credits: USA Today Sports.
Having both been drafted in the now legendary 1984 NBA Draft, Olajuwon and Jordan were dominant forces. Selected with the first overall pick, Hakeem is undoubtedly the greatest Rocket of all time. Similarly, His Airness was selected a pick later and made the Chicago Bulls an unstoppable force.
Sadly, the two never met at the biggest stage of them all, the NBA Finals. After all, when the Nigerian superstar finally did make it all the way, Jordan was “conveniently” trying his hand at baseball.
Robert Horry claims that Hakeem Olajuwon was the one player that Michael Jordan feared
In 2016, Robert Horry shocked the world when he revealed that Michael Jordan wasn’t the fearless player that everyone had come to know and love. He claimed that the six-time NBA Champion feared one player and one player alone. That player is Hakeem Olajuwon, whom Horry played with during his days with the Houston Rockets.
Elaborating further, Horry claimed that Jordan would often call and express his worries about facing off against the 7’0″ center. Hailing from Nigeria, Olajuwon was often referred to as the “Big African” by Michael. A testament to just how much of a force The Dream was on the basketball court.
It certainly was a bold statement from Horry. But, he didn’t just stop there. Delving further into the whole Jordan-Olajuwon scenario, he even tried to disprove the claims of Bulls fans. He suggested that the outcome of the 1994 and 1995 NBA Finals would be no different even if Jordan had played. Essentially, he believes that the Rockets would have come out on top regardless.
At the end of the day, there is no corroborating what Big Shot Rob has said. The only ones who know how Jordan truly felt about Olajuwon are MJ himself and Hakeem. Nevertheless, there can be no denying that there was a certain level of respect between both men.
Olajuwon once used the analogy of an animal to show his respect for MJ
They may have never clashed in the NBA Finals, but Hakeem Olajuwon and Michael Jordan had a mutual respect for each other. They were both incredible superstars, who performed feats others could only dream of. So, it’s understandable why they would revere one another and appreciate their respective games.
In fact, Olajuwon in his book paid the ultimate respect to Jordan by using an animal analogy. Referring to His Airness as an animal in the jungle sitting atop the biggest rock, he suggested that he was untouchable. A player that could not be neutralized, and one that dominated all his opponents. An incredible compliment from an equally incredible player.