1. Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston Rockets
Record: 10-13 regular season
Another NBA legend that had some true instant classic regular season showdowns against Jordan and the Bulls, but didn’t get to face them once in the playoffs was Hall-of-Fame Houston Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon. The 12-time NBA All-Star selection, one-time MVP, two-time Finals MVP, and three-time blocks champion is one of the best big men to ever to di.
There are multiple reasons why the connection between “Hakeem the Dream” and Jordan is so important. For starters, they were two of the top three picks in the 1984 NBA Draft. The Rockets picked the former Houston Cougars 7-foot and 255 pound Nigerian big man with the first overall pick in the 1984 draft. Jordan was the third overall pick of the Bulls.
One other big reason why the connection between Olajuwon and Jordan is important is that the Rockets were the NBA Champions in both seasons where the latter was trying his hand at baseball. What would have happened if Jordan remained with the Bulls and they met the Rockets in the 1994 and 1995 NBA Finals?
In the 23 regular season matchups that Olajuwon would come out on top of a lucky-13 times, 21 of them were against the Bulls and two against the Wizards. The Dream averaged 21.9 points per game, 11.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.8 steals, and 3.3 blocks, while shooting 51.1 percent from the field and a surprising 40 percent from beyond the arc.