Former college teammates Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler steered the Houston Rockets to an NBA title in 1995.
This was Olajuwon’s second and last championship and the only in Drexler’s long career. With all that being said, just imagine how many champions could they won if they teamed up with Michael Jordan.
The “Big Three” of Jordan, Drexler, and Olajuwon sound like a fairy tale, but according to Hakeem it actually almost happened. In his book “Living the Dream”, he claimed that in 1984, the Portland Trail Blazers offered the Rockets the No. 2 overall pick in the draft as well as Drexler for star center Ralph Sampson.
The Rockets passed on the deal and kept Sampson to form a “Twin Towers” with Olajuwon, who was selected by Houston with the top pick in the ’84 draft. Portland chose Sam Bowie second overall and Jordan wound up going to the Chicago Bulls third.
The NBA landscape would have changed dramatically if the Rockets didn’t turn down that deal and used the No.2 pick to draft Jordan.
It may have taken the team a few years to win it all since they would’ve had to battle the tough teams of the 1980s like Magic Johnson’s Los Angeles Lakers and Larry Bird’s Boston Celtics. But, ultimately, the Rockets would have broken through and won year in and year out.
The system with Jordan, Hakeem, and Drexler could have worked perfectly. If one of the three superstars has an off night shooting, there would be two other gifted scorers to pick up the slack. Like Jordan, Drexler was blessed with speed and athleticism which allowed him to score with ease and Olajuwon was unstoppable in the post.
However, those three superstars couldn’t have won championships all by themselves. They would’ve needed help from a solid supporting cast.
It’s easy to say that Houston would have garnered a bunch of rings with Jordan, Olajuwon, and Drexler leading the way. Although, it’s possible that the team couldn’t afford to keep all three players together. Each one would have demanded a lot of dough, putting the Rockets far above the salary cap.
Furthermore, there’s no telling if the trio could co-exist. Each player averaged at least 20 points per game for their careers and would see their numbers decrease quite a bit as they shared the scoring duties with one another.
Even though this is what could have been a story, it would have been great to witness them play on one team, especially since they are considered to be among 50 best players in NBA history.