When the battle for the Lone Star State was happening during the 1990s in the NBA, little did NBA fans know that they were getting a glimpse in to the future of the NBA.
In a recent interview with Men’s Fitness, David Robinson discussed his military service, the current state of the NBA,along with his playing career.
In the 1990s, the center position was evolving away from the plodding big man who ate up space down low and plodded up and down the court; to an athlete with grace that could fly up and down the court while not being pushed around down low.
In Robinson’s mind:
“Skill-wise, I’d have to say Hakeem. He could really do anything. Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal) was a great physical specimen. I mean, 7 foot, 350 pounds. There wasn’t anybody like him. Those are probably the two best guys.”
While Shaquille O’Neal is undoubtedly the most unstoppable force (when he chose to play) in the NBA, the battles between Hakeem Olajuwan and David Robinson showcased two legends that were comfortable in both post and out on the floor.
Robinson showed the merits of hitting the gym to enable a big man keep his strength to be a force in the low post.
Dwight Howard and rest of the chiseled big men were able to maintain their strength while maintaining their athleticism and flexibility.
Olajuwan brought a small forwards agility to the low post game due to his years of improving his footwork while playing soccer in his native country of Nigeria.
Olajuwan’s game was so impressive that even ten years after he has finished playing, the games top players (LeBron James and Dwight Howard) are using him as a resource to help improve their games.
I don't wanna say you guys are wrong because you can't go wrong with those two options but as for me especially being a spurs fan I'll take consistency and long-gevity? (Not sure how to spell it) over a slightly more talented player. I went to 3 of those spurs vs rockets games in the alamodome in the mid 90's and that's where I fell in love with the game all the battles down low and the shooters always ready "vinny del fuego" chants good times... everyone should take a look at hakeem's footwork
I'm probably the minority, but I would choose Hakeem Olajuwon over Kareem Abdul Jabbar if I ha to choose a center for my team. Abdul Jabbar was great, and the sky hook was unstoppable, but Hakeem could do a little more! Hakeem is in the top 10 for steals AND blocks. Of course, Jabbar was in better physical shape, and was still able to drop 20 points a game well into his late 30's, something Hakeem could not do. But at their peaks, in their primes, man Olajuwon could wreck it. He just completely dominated.
No argument from me. I also felt that Hakeem was the most skilled big man, who could dominate at both ends of the floor. Shaq and to a smaller extent, Dwight Howard, don't impress me because their genetics and superior physical size make up for the basketball skills that they lacked. Hakeem didn't rest on his athletic abilities. I remember when he was at the University of Houston and couldn't shoot a lick or really handle the basketball well. To see him, add the full array of offensive moves to complement his prowess on defense and shot blocking was wonderful to behold. Both Hakeem and the Admiral covered so much ground on the floor; it was amazing to watch.
@JeffProjectSpurs Honestly, I'd go with prime Hakeem by a SLIGHT edge. He was just on another level. His skill set was so deadly, and combine that with such incredible athleticism for a big man, and that's virtually unstoppable. I'm not saying Hakeem would totally own Duncan. Remember when Robinson got owned by Olajuwon during the '95 playoffs? To me, Duncan wouldn't have gone through that if it was Timmy in there instead of David. I think Hakeem would've made Tim look silly early in the series, but as the series went on, Duncan would've adjusted. You see in the clips of that series, Robinson always biting on those pump fakes. I don't think Timmy would've allowed that to happen to him consistently. Duncan isn't known to bite on fakes that badly that many times, and his footwork on defense has always been stellar. Duncan lacked great athleticism, so he made up for it with incredible skill and fundamentals. It's safe to say Duncan's SKILLS were a little more polished than David. So, I honestly believe Duncan would've fared better against '95 Hakeem, but Hakeem would've still probably came out on top. I think most people will agree with me when I say Duncan is better than Robinson when it comes to the playoffs. Robinson could light it up in the regular season, but couldn't really take his team over the hump. I mean, during David's prime, he had some good talent around him, prime Sean Elliott, Dennis Rodman for a few years, Avery Johnson. So it's not like he had NO ONE. Duncan was THE guy that got the Spurs 4 rings, despite so so talent around him. This tells me Duncan knew how to up his game once the playoffs started, and you could count on him in clutch time.