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“He just jumps first then decides in the air!” - Hakeem Olajuwon on what makes Michael Jordan great in the post

Hakeem Olajuwon and Michael Jordan played beyond their years and changed the way how a shooting guard and center play in the NBA.
Houston Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon and Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan

Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Jordan

Hakeem Olajuwon and Michael Jordan’s lives are forever intertwined after getting drafted first and third overall in 1984. As fierce rivals, Hakeem saw firsthand how dominating Jordan was, especially in the post, and he revealed the reason why.

“He just jumps first then decides in the air!”

Hakeem Olajuwon is considered one of the greatest big men to ever play in the NBA. He had the skills of a guard in the post, and defenders couldn’t figure him out. Tall, long-limbed, graceful, and intelligent with a soft touch are not the usual words to describe a 7-footer, but they fit Olajuwon as a center.

He and Michael Jordan had several battles on the court. Olajuwon would often meet Jordan in the paint, and the Nigerian-American would go away impressed. Not only did MJ master the art of shooting mid-range jumpers, but he also had the post-up game in his bag.

“Michael was a genius on the low block. He really did jump first and decide in the air. Whenever we played the Bulls, we’d double and triple team MJ in the post as soon as he put the ball on the floor,” Hakeem said.

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Watching Mike in the post was like poetry in motion. He had Plans A, B, and C. No matter what the defense gave him, he still had options up his sleeves. So when MJ got up in the air, it was everybody’s guess what he’d do. Sometimes, it seemed he was showboating. Remember this magical but unnecessary move?

Jordan and Olajuwon played ahead of their time

What The Dream mentioned, the Chicago Bulls star played like a big man. The 6-time champion possessed upper body strength second to none that enabled him to bully smaller defenders in the post.

When Jordan gets it going, it’s pick-you-own-poison for other teams. He was an underrated passer, and he knew when to attack and when to share the ball. But, on the other hand, Hakeem had his own highlight against Michael.

It was revealed that MJ was afraid of Olajuwon, so the respect was mutual between the two all-time greats. They played ahead of their time and destroyed notions of how a shooting guard or a big man should play in the NBA. 

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