Why Hakeem Olajuwon is the third greatest player ever, do you agree?

The first thing I want to break down is how incredibly versatile and well rounded he was. Nobody else is close to Hakeem's statistical feats. He is the only player who is even close to being top 12 in blocks, steals, rebounds, and

BLOCKS: #1 all time, 3,830 (541 ahead of Mutombo is #2 of all time). No question he is the greatest shot blocker ever. For his size, 6'10"-6'11" it is even more impressive. He blocked Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's skyhook: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOCMH_6NMBI

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(5:08 of the video). The other player I know of that did that was Wilt but Wilt was 7'2" and he had a 7'8" reach so it was easier for him. His highest block season was 4.59 bpg.

STEALS: #8 of all time. 2,162 career steals How incredible is that? A 6'11" center is #8 of all time in steals. He is ahead of all the small and quick guards that played the game and only 7 people are ahead of Hakeem. His highest steals averaged are 2.6 spg.

SCORING: #9 all time. 26,246. Not only was Hakeem a terrific defender, he could also score whenever he wanted. He is without question the greatest post player ever. His footwork, agility, speed, dribbling skills, and footwork were unheard of for a 6'11" center. He had more moves than anybody. "Hakeem has four moves, then four countermoves. That gives him 20 moves"-Shaquille O'Neal. He also humiliated Shaq, Robertson, and Ewing in the playoffs.

Robinson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hW4uXlRGAF0

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(DPOY and MVP)

Ewing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQUpFi369t8

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(game 7 NBA finals)

Shaq: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hRoMOAirnU

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(Shaq could not contain him the whole series, one of the reasons the Magic got swept)

Kareem: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNGJl2MfyiI

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These are top 10 centers ever (Shaq and Kareem are top 5) and Hakeem humiliated them. The dream shake is the second greatest offensive move ever. 27.8 ppg is his highest scoring average.

Rebounding: #12 all time. 13,748. Another impressive thing to add. You couldn't keep Hakeem off the boards!


14 rpg is his highest rebounding average.

DEFENSE: I think it is safe to say he is the best defender ever. He is #1 all time in blocks, #8 in steals, and he could guard 1-5. He could guard Michael Jordan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epPwITy_BMU

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(2:33 of the video, also blocked Jordan 3 times and blocked the game winner)

LEADERSHIP: Hakeem is one of the greatest leaders. He elevated his game in the playoffs. He lead his team to 3 finals and 2 championships. He had barely any help. He had who? Vernon Maxwell, Matt Bullard, Vernon Maxwell, Brooks, Thorpe, Horry (was better for the Lakers), and old and out of prime Drexler (didn't have Drexler his first two finals). All of these people except Drexler were average-decent players. People say Hakeem would not have any rings if Jordan retired. Hakeem is 13-10 all time vs Jordan so he had no trouble beating Jordan. Jordan had a tough time against the Rockets.

Update 2:

@Erwin here is my top 5:

1. Michael Jordan

2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

3. Hakeem Olajuwon (much better defender and rebounder than Bird and Magic)

4. Larry Bird

5. Magic Johnson

Hakeem is the 2nd greatest center ever, not third.

13 Answers

  • JM
    Lv 7
    6 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I have Hakeem 3rd all-time also. I have him as the best center ever. He's arguably the best player of all-time. I only have both MJ's ahead of him. Here is an argument I made a while ago for Hakeem over Kareem (who I think is the 4th best player ever).

    Kareem tends to get a bit more credit because of the rings and stacked up stats and MVP awards but he played in a situation that allowed him to rack up those awards. First off, he played with the two greatest PG's of all time in Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson. When he was with the Lakers he had Magic setting him up and also had James Worthy as well and two are both top 50 greatest players ever. Hakeem led his Rockets past Kareem's Lakers in the 1986 WCF when Kareem had a better team and was upset by Hakeem's Rockets.

    Hakeem wasn't given nearly as much help throughout his career and made due with what he was given and that is to counter people who say Kareem based off accomplishments. I think Hakeem was the better player all around and before I get to that I want to talk about how he is the more clutch player and how he made due with what he was given like I stated earlier.

    During the 1994-1995 NBA season his team had the 6th best record at 47-35 in the west. Hakeem come playoff time then turned in what would be the most pressured playoff run that a player and his team have ever had to endure in the history of the game in my opinion. First he had to play the Jazz in round 1 who had a record of 60-22 and home court advantage. He had to go up against the legendary duo of John Stockton and Karl Malone and prevailed even in the eliminated game of game 5.

    Game 1:

    Hakeem: 45pts, 8rebs, 6ast, 3blk, 2stl

    Malone: 25pts, 14rebs, 4ast

    Stockton: 28pts, 10ast

    Game 2:

    Hakeem: 27pts, 7rebs, 4ast, 3blk, 2stl

    Malone: 28pts, 17rebs, 2ast

    Stockton: 12pts, 12ast

    Game 3:

    Hakeem: 30pts, 10rebs, 3ast, 5blk

    Malone: 32pts, 19rebs, 5ast

    Stockton: 11pts, 13ast

    Game 4:

    Hakeem: 40pts, 8rebs, 3ast

    Malone: 31pts, 6rebs, 5ast

    Stockton: 26pts, 11ast

    Game 5 (Elimination):

    Hakeem: 33pts, 10rebs, 4ast

    Malone: 35pts, 10rebs, 3ast

    Stockton: 12pts, 5ast

    *Hakeem shot a much better fg% than Malone the whole series.

    Then after escaping a game 5 elimination game by 4 pts against the Jazz and needing two 40pt explosions in the series to do so he had to face the 59-23 Suns. In that series his team trailed the series 3-1 and Hakeem led his team to a game 7 and a victory. After losing game 4 and scoring 38 points and Hakeem's team now being down 3-1, Hakeem destroyed the entire series to give his team 3 straight wins and averaged 30ppg, 11.7rpg, 2.3bpg, and 5.7apg for the rest of the series along with a 1 point win in game 7 to advance against David Robinson's 62-20 win spurs, in a series that Hakeem held Robinson to 42%fg shooting while putting up these numbers during the 7 game series.

    Game 1 vs Spurs: 27pts, 8rebs, 6ast, 5blks

    Game 2 vs Spurs: 41pts, 16rebs, 4ast, 2blks

    Game 3 vs Spurs: 43pts, 11rebs, 4ast, 5blks

    Game 4 vs Spurs: 20pts, 14rebs, 5ast, 3blks

    Game 5 vs Spurs: 42pts, 9rebs, 8ast, 5blks

    Game 6 vs Spurs: 39pts, 17rebs, 3ast, 5blks

    In an important game 6, David Robinson was hounded by Hakeem's defense to shoot only 6-17 from the field.

    Then in the finals Hakeem's rockets sweep Shaq's Magic who had a 57 win season. Hakeem posted 32.8ppg, 11.3rpg, and 5.5apg vs Shaq's 28ppg, 12.5rpg, and 6.3apg series to win he series and win the title.

    *Hakeem had no home court throughout the entire playoffs.

    * Trailed a series 3-1

    * Went 4-0 in elimination games.

    * Out played 2 all time great centers.

    With that said, Hakeem was able to do all this without a great PG like Kareem and without HOF talent that were in their primes and Hakeem found a way to get another ring. Hakeem had better moves in the post that Kareem, Hakeem was also a better defender and won defensive player of the year and became the all time leader in blocks in an era that had much more athletic players. And Hakeem played the passing lanes better and is among the top 10 in steals yet he is a center. He was able to switch onto guards in pick and rolls and guard them better than Kareem could. Kareem had him in rebounds a bit and assists, but Hakeem was better on offense, and defense and with the above information along with other things done in Hakeem's career he was the better pressure player and more clutch. Imagine what Hakeem could have done playing with Oscar or Magic..


    @ irwin: Kareem played with Oscar and Magic. He had Oscar before Magic. Kareem was with the Lakers before Magic, and never won anything. Kareem even got hurt in the 1980 finals and Magic started at center and dominated for 42/12/7. Hakeem never played with anyone that good. Hakeem won a title with a 6th seed team against the top 4 teams in the NBA while Kareem never did. Yeah, because Drexler was TOTALLY in his prime at that time....

    Source(s): Edit: The Jordan thing is not an excuse. Jordan lost to Shaq's Magic in 1995. Hakeem led a 6th seed team past that same team that beat Jordan's team, and even swept them in the finals. He got past Barkley's Suns that same year, and the year before, and Barkley was still a great player during Hakeem's two title runs. He made the all nba team both of those year's. 1997 was the year he started to take a drastic decline. _ @irwin: Drexler actually averaged 6rpg that year not 10. I'm not saying he wasn't good, but that wasn't his prime, like how Kareem played with Magic and Worthy in their's. Also for the record, in 1995 Drexler shot 42%fg with portland and it jacked up to 51%fg playing with Hakeem getting triple teamed 24/7. ***THE 10 RPG WAS with the 94 Blazers playoff run during a FOUR game post season.
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  • 4 years ago

    No. He sure was a dirty player though, constantly bring his knees up to knock guys away when he took the ball up, and his hand slaps were notorious. He would not had been able to play nearly as well in todays Non-contact NBA. I'd have to say Duncan is better, he has more shots and is much more consistant with his bank shots, plus he has become a better free throw shooter than Malone. As for your arguement that Duncan has faced weaker opponent, that is NOT true. The oppsoing center is usually on Duncan when the Spurs are on the offensive end, Malone was hardly ever covered by the opposing center. In addition Duncan makes his team mates better than Malone made his team mates, the main reason is once Malone got the ball, it usually stiopped there with him and he took the shot, mainly offmpick and roll situations. Duncan does a lot more passing and gets many more assist and gets more of his team into the flow of the game. Then of course you have to look at the number of titles and MVP awards and other records, plus the longevity of their careers. When you consider all these things it is appearant that Duncan is the better PF out of the two. Also comparing teams from different eras is really not like comparing apple to apples, the style of play and what is allowed is vastly different. You know as well as I do things were much more physical in the 80s, and even the 90s compared to how the NBA operates today. Many things that weren't fouls prevuiously, now are caled fouls and any sort of physical behavior now will get you suspended. I doubt Malone would be nearly as effective in todays NBA and what Duncan has had to deal with most of his career, it really hampers what a big man can do on the court. There is no doubt the Bulls teams you wrote of were great, but comparing them to todays teams or the teams the Spurs beat is like comparing those Bulls to the great Celtic teams of the 60s, the league at each time was different. Back when the Bulls were winning those titles in a dominant fashion, the really good teams usualy had 2 superstars to get it done, in the Bulls case Jordan and Pippen. The NBA changed quite a bit since then, now to be a very good team you need at least 3 superstars, or you are undergunned. I would take the 07 Spurs against the Bulls teams you mentioned, their bench is much deeper than the Bulls and there is no way Toni Kukouch(spelling) or any other bench player for the Bulls would had handled Ginobli and the Bull's Cartwright would had been too slow to Handle Duncan which means Pippen would have had to double on him causing all sorts of problems for the rest of the role players since Jordan would had been running after Parker. If Pippen or Jordan would had gotten in foul trouble, which is a real possibility in todays NBA, the Bulls would had lost that game.

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  • 4 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.


    Why Hakeem Olajuwon is the third greatest player ever, do you agree?

    The first thing I want to break down is how incredibly versatile and well rounded he was. Nobody else is close to Hakeem's statistical feats. He is the only player who is even close to being top 12 in blocks, steals, rebounds, and

    BLOCKS: #1 all time, 3,830 (541 ahead of Mutombo is #2 of all...

    Source(s): hakeem olajuwon greatest player agree: https://shortly.im/55dlP
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  • 6 years ago

    Let me ask you a question? Would you rather have a great stats OR great history record? Because every year you play, your stats change & what I mean change, I mean decline because of injury's & getting older. There is no freaking way that Hakeem is greater then Chamberlian,Abdul-Jabbar, & Shaquille O'Neal. Sure Hakeem beat Shaq in the 1995 Finals but Larry Bird did beat Hakeem in the 1986 Finals. Abdul-Jabbar has 6 rings,6 MVP,2 Final MVP, & 19x All Stars.

    As for Hakeem blocking Kareem, LMFAO Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was 39 yrs old in 1986 while Hakeem was 23 yrs old. Do the math!!!

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  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    You're dreaming if the think Hakeem better than Kareem.

    Stats aren't everything and Kareem the most resilient player in NBA history. Kareem 6x Champ, 7x MVP, top 3 in scoring rebounds and blocks.

    Shaq though lost to Olajuwon in Finals when he came into his own player Hakeem never touched his post season play. (2000 Finals Shaq 36ppg 16rpg) Shaq had a top 5 rookie year all time, and led 3 teams to Finals. Yes in 06 Wade did shine but Shaq still all NBA 1st team, and his experience was vital to that run.

    Shaq 3rd all time in FG%, 6th in scoring, 7th in blocks, 14th in rebounds 4x champ


    Hakeem may be 3rd best Center of all time and even that is a hard argument to win

    Source(s): @ JM it was Magic & Oscar who didnt win rings without Kareem, not the other way around. Olajuwon played with Drexler, when Jordan was out of the league, and Barkley in Phoenix had back problems. @ JM Drexlers numbers that first Rocket title post season were 21ppg 10 RPG 5 APG (the most RPG he had averaged in his career) ^^^^more like you can't compare Penny Hardawy or James Worthy to Drexler smh Don't act like he didnt have help. ------------------------------------------ @ Mountain Lion that's a good top 5. It's a serious debate in which really many players can be considered. I can certainly see why and how you could argue those players, though I don't 100% agree.
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  • 4 years ago

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  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    I think that he is 4th, because Wilt is #1. The majority of people do not know enough about Wilt, just like a lot of people don't know about Hakeem because he was before his era

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  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    He's not even the third greatest center of all time. Yes he was great I can't argue with that but there were a select amount of players better than him. Kareem, Wilt, Russell, and Shaq were all arguably better than him.

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