How Kevin Johnson almost got knocked out by Hakeem Olajuwon

How Kevin Johnson almost got knocked out by Hakeem Olajuwon

There is no move in basketball that is more disrespectful than a poster dunk. Dunks by themselves are always an attractive sight to see, but when you add a defender into the mix, we get some of the best and most iconic highlights ever. It represents the embodiment of athleticism and skill, out jumping your defender and knocking him down to the ground, only to slam the ball with ferocity. 

We have seen a good chunk of impressive and disrespectful dunks in NBA history. Still, one of the more notable ones to this day is Kevin Johnson dunking over Hakeem Olajuwon in the 1994 Western Conference Semi-Finals. Kevin Johnson was a great all-around point guard, most known for his days with the Phoenix Suns. What graced KJ’s game was the sneaky athleticism, allowing him to posterize defenders at just 6’1” tall. 

So when one of the best centers and defenders in NBA history, the 7’0” Hakeem Olajuwon, known as “The Dream,” got in his way, nobody really expected KJ to slam it. But in a tight playoff battle between the Suns and the Rockets, Johnson would drive from the left baseline and rise with one hand, dunking it ferociously over Hakeem for the slam and the foul. The crowd and KJ himself went into a frenzy, as everybody knew this dunk would go down in history even back then.

But what you didn’t know about this play is that Johnson didn’t hold back to taunt Hakeem even later in their careers, only to get pretty close to a knockout from “The Dream.” Hakeem’s teammate at the time, Robert Horry, made an appearance on the Road Trippin podcast with Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye, as he shared the story of KJ entering Houston’s locker room only to ask Hakeem to sign the picture of him getting dunked on. Safe to say “The Dream” wasn’t happy:

“So get this, Kevin Johnson had the nerve to bring that picture in the locker room and ask Dream to sign it… Dream used to knock people out. So Dream almost reverted to the days before he really dove deep into his religion. Yeah he looked at him like:‘Don’t disrespect me like that.’ And everbody say:‘Dude you better get out of here’. Who had the nerve to do some stupid crap like that?”

Robert Horry, Road Trippin

That move by KJ took some courage and boldness. Dunking over Hakeem is one thing, but provoking him in that way is on another level. Even though Hakeem was known as a calm and profound guy, focused on his religion, back in his younger days, he was a menace, ready to fight anybody, as Horry pointed out. But even though at the time, he had settled down, a glimpse of fire could have been seen in Hakeem’s eye when Johnson provoked him.

 I’m pretty sure KJ was out of there in a hurry. To conclude, as Richard Jefferson asked, Horry confirmed Hakeem did not sign the picture. No surprise there! I’m pretty sure Kevin Johnson was happy to leave the locker room on his feet. A unique and funny story from the golden era of NBA basketball.