HardwoodAce Highlights: Houston Rockets One-On-One Alumni Edition
By James Chung
No, I’m not sitting down with Rockets players for interviews (Although, that would be kind of cool and fun being a long-time basketball junkie).
Rather, I’m highlighting something that’s been headlining the NBA world both recently and in the past.
Retired NBA legend Michael Jordan, known by most as the “G.O.A.T” of the NBA (Greatest of all time), has publically claimed he could beat some current NBA players on a number of occasions.
It all started when he said two simple words, “I’m back.”
Jordan’s return to the Chicago Bulls back in the 90s after retiring to play baseball was one to remember to say the least.
Then, after retiring a second time, everyone thought the book was closed.
But after taking part ownership of the Washington Wizards franchise following his retirement as a player, he opened that book once more. This time around, he suited up for the Wizards (which was understandably a bizarre sight for most Bulls fans and NBA fans alike).
At the ripe old age of 40, he took to the NBA floor for what would be his last stint in the NBA.
After playing in three different decades as an NBA player, Jordan finally put an end to his trash-talking days – at least on the NBA courts.
Over the years as a retired NBA player, Jordan has come out from time to time and publically stated he could probably beat some current NBA players in a one-on-one match (originally when he was with the Wizards front office, and then again recently as the owner of the Charlotte Hornets).
At the age of 40, he stunned the basketball world with how spectacular he performed for someone his age.
But, now at the age of 52, fewer people pay attention to his claims of still being good enough to challenge current pros.
I’d say only those who are blinded by how amazing he was and how incredible a feat it was just to see him perform as well as he did with the Wizards would say he could still beat guys in the NBA today.
This brings me to what’s been circulating through the media in recent days.
Another retired NBA legend in Larry “Legend” Bird recently aired his thoughts in an interview on The Dan Patrick Show, and that’s where the legend reluctantly admitted who he thought would win a one-on-one match-up today between Bird and Jordan.
His response, “he’d kill me.”
This wasn’t your everyday open and shut case of David vs. Goliath.
This was a case of Goliath vs. Goliath, arguably two of the greatest to ever play the game of basketball.
This was surely an instant classic debate topic for basketball fans to chime in on.
I was no exception to this.
Fansided Sports Network’s very own HoopsHabit.com took to Twitter to ask fans who they’d like to see in a potential one-on-one match-up, and this ultimately sparked a keen interest in me to break down a few match-ups I’d love see once more.
If you could see two retired ballers play one-on-one today, who would it be? #nba
— HoopsHabit (@HoopsHabit) July 27, 2015
How about a rematch of @DR34M vs. @DavidtheAdmiral #Dream #Admiral #Oldmangame #NBA #Legends #Dreamshake #pumpfakes https://t.co/pLZW7U5wPQ — James Chung (@HardwoodAce) July 27, 2015
Sadly, this would be more entertaining to debate in the fantasy world than to actually see in real life.
Nonetheless, the cool part about the match-ups I’m going to highlight is that they all involve former Houston Rockets.
I’ll be highlighting three different match-ups.
It’s All A Dream
“With the first-overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft, The Houston Rockets select…Hakeem Olajuwon from the University of Houston.”
With those words from former NBA commissioner David Stern, the Houston Rockets franchise drafted one of the greatest to ever play the game of basketball.
In the first match-up that I’m highlighting in these series, I’ve got Olajuwon matched up against someone he got the best of when both players were in the prime of their careers.
His opponent in this one-on-one match-up is David “The Admiral” Robinson.
After dominating the regular season MVP Robinson, Olajuwon then had another tough assignment to handle in the Finals.
That assignment, Shaquille O’Neal, aka. Shaq Diesel.
I’m not going to list all his nicknames, but here’s a video to jog your memory of when Hakeem and your Houston Rockets took on the young star center in the 1995 NBA Finals.
And if you’re like me, you feel that sometimes, a highlight reel alone doesn’t truly define how a match-up should be revered – either because one highlight might not represent both sides fairly, or because the highlight reel often leaves out the mistakes or ugly plays.
You could say it goes a long way to hear the opinions of your peers, especially the opponents in question when talking match-ups.
So, let’s hear from Shaq himself, and a couple of Olajuwon’s former teammates in Kenny Smith and Robert Horry.
Next up Part 2….. Can you guess who?
Next: Part 2 - Rockets Alumni 1-on-1
More from Space City Scoop
- NBA Draft: Should Houston Rockets select Evan Mobley or Jalen Green?
- Houston Rockets: 2 Pros and cons to trading back in NBA Draft
- 3 reasons the Houston Rockets should select Evan Mobley in NBA Draft
- Houston Rockets: 3 options for pick No. 2 after NBA Draft Lottery
- Houston Rockets: 37 best prospects in the 2021 NBA Draft