As far as big men of the 80s and 90s go, few if any had a better career than two-time league champion Hakeem Olajuwon, who went head-to-head against both Patrick Ewing and Shaquille O’Neal in the NBA Finals and got the better of both of them.
Olajuwon also won during a time when Michael Jordan and the Bulls were still a factor, although Jordan’s absence and rustiness certainly factored in to Hakeem’s lack of Finals matchups with His Airness.
While Hakeem never got to go head-to-head against Jordan with the ultimate prize on the line (a matchup that would have been one for the ages, that we were ultimately deprived of), he did have a front-row seat for some of the Chicago Bulls legend’s best years.
Recently Olajuwon, a two-time Finals MVP and twelve-time All-Star, weighed in on the Jordan vs. LeBron James debate that has taken over chat forums across social media for months and months if not years, and gave an answer you might expect from a 90s era superstar, but also one that seems heavily slanted in a direction far away from the general discourse of today.
Olajuwon Reveals His Pick in Jordan vs. LeBron Debate
Speaking to CNBC in a 2020 interview, Olajuwon did not mince words when it came to picking between the two top flight superstars: Jordan is the far superior player, according to “The Dream.”
“Do you think LeBron James is up there with the greatest players of all-time?” the interviewer asks the Nigerian born former NBA superstar and champion.
“Yes,” Hakeem answers definitively, as seen in the video below.
But he also continued on by saying that he believes that there is essentially no comparison between Jordan and LeBron.
“It depends on how…According to the position that he plays…When people start comparing him with Jordan, that’s not a fair comparison,” Hakeem said.
“Because, you know, Jordan’s a far more superior player; in a very, very tough league, and very, very, you know…very creative.
“That’s not taking anything away from LeBron James who’s a great player, but it’s not a fair comparison because I think Jordan is a far superior player.”
Olajuwon also discusses his favorite moment as a player and more with CNBC below.
Also of note: Denver Nuggets star guard Jamal Murray apparently “liked” a post with the Hakeem comment on the Jordan vs. LeBron debate on Instagram, an indication that he seems to agree with Mr. Olajuwon on this one.