Skip to main content

The Shaq vs. Hakeem PPV One-On-One That Almost Happened

Robert Horry has no doubt who's the better player in the Shaq vs. Hakeem debate

The 1995 NBA Finals between the Houston Rockets and the Orlando Magic was a true battle of two great centers. A prime Hakeem Olajuwon versus a young Shaquille O’Neal. A battle for the ages.

But in the end, the Rockets would end up sweeping the Magic 4-0, as Hakeem just merely had much more help around him with the likes of Clyde Drexler, Robert Horry, Sam Cassell, Kenny Smith, Mario Ellie and more.

Hakeem finished the series averaging 32.8 ppg and 11.5 rpg, while Shaq had 28.0 ppg and 12.5 rpg

On the other hand, Shaq had players like Penny Hardaway, Nick Anderson, Dennis Scott, and Horace Grant, but outside of Shaq and Penny, everybody underperformed.

So Shaq competitive as he is couldn’t just let it go, as he decided to challenge Hakeem after the Finals to a 1 on 1 game.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

About a month after the NBA Finals were finished Taco Bell put out a campaign. It was a short note from Shaq challenging Hakeem for a 1 on 1 matchup.

Not many people took it seriously, but after about a week it was confirmed to happen, as it was a legit promotional piece for a Pay Per View event for a 1 on 1 game between the two centers for 1 million dollars.

It was something never seen before, as the NBA world was buzzing for the event. It was organized as a fight night with undercards like Kevin Garnet versus Joe Smith or Nick Van Exel versus Kenny Anderson.

 “It’s just us. No Andersons, no Hardaways, no Tomjanovich, no Brian Hill,” O’Neal told the LA Time at the time for the upcoming event, which supposedly was going to have a 12-second shot clock and even a six-point shot.

But unfortunately just a day before the event, Hakeem canceled due to “sore sacroiliac from lifting weights,” It was a huge letdown, as Taco Bell tried everything to find a replacement and save the event.

They tried to get Alonzo Mourning or even the tandem of Spud Webb and Mugsy Bogues to play against Shaq, but they couldn’t manage, as they decided to cancel the event and refund millions.

It was such a shame that we didn’t get to see this battle.

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant and Cleveland Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert

"You always calling for a ball screen, f*ck all that" - Iman Shumpert discusses his on-court battles with Kevin Durant

Iman Shumpert reveals Kevin Durant was the hardest player he had to guard in his career

Larry Bird

"It makes me sick to my stomach" - Larry Bird on tanking in the NBA

If Larry Legend knew his team was tanking, he would've left it outright.

Chicago Bulls forward Toni Kukoc

"I knew when I'd come here I am going to be this rookie kid that carries bags" - Toni Kukoc on how European players felt criticized coming into the NBA

His European basketball legacy may have not mattered in the NBA, but for Kukoc, he was still the "Croatian Sensation"

New Jersey Nets forward Kenyon Martin

“Everything after that was just basketball” — Kenyon Martin revealed the best moment of his career

For K-Mart, being drafted in the NBA was monumental but not a dream-come-true.

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young and Philadelphia 76ers forward Georges Niang

“Now, you can’t even sneeze on a guy” — Gary Vee on why he prefers the physicality of old-school basketball over today’s NBA

Vee explained that the physicality back in the day was more than just players punching or close-lining each other but also about mental toughness and perseverance.