One former Rockets great said that Michael Jordan would have had some trouble in 1995.
In late May, Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson, the managing editor and columnist of RESPECT Magazine, interviewed Kenny Smith. During the interview, the Jet mentioned that the Houston Rockets would have beaten the Bulls during Michael’s absence in 1995. This statement took the internet by storm and even had Scotty Pippen responding to it on ESPN’s the Jump. Here is the full video of Kenny’s interview if you want to watch that.
To follow up with this viral hit, Scoop B also asked Clyde Drexler the same question about a week ago. Drexler had a fantastic answer that more people should know about. Let’s look at the question and answer:
Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson: We had Kenny “The Jet” Smith on Scoop B Radio. He said had Michael Jordan not retired, the Rockets would have beat the Bulls. You played with Rockets in ’95, had the Bulls played the Rockets, would you have beaten them?
We would’ve beat them like they stole something.
Clyde Drexler: We would’ve beat them like they stole something. The thing is, think about it, the team that beat them with Michael, was the Orlando Magic, and we swept the magic. But I love Michael, tell him I love him, tell him I said hello.
If you would like to see the video of Clyde answering this question, here it is:
So would the Rockets have beaten the Bulls in 1995? Let’s look at some of the facts.
Why the Rockets Had a Great Chance of Winning
The Houston Rockets had a fantastic squad throughout the ’90s. The same can be said about the Bulls, obviously, but the two teams were very different. The best player on Chicago and probably of all time, Michael Jordan, was a guard whereas the best player on the Rockets, Hakeem Olajuwon, was a center. The Rockets were a terrible matchup for the Bulls and would bully (no pun intended) them down low whenever the two met.
The Chicago Bulls would have had no answer for Hakeem Olajuwon. The Dream would have destroyed whoever the Bulls put to guard him. If Hakeem can put on a show against a fantastic defender in David Robinson, he can do it against anyone, especially a non-star like Luc Longley.
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The Rockets, on the other hand, could have put several great defenders on Jordan. An example of this kind of player would be Vernon Maxwell. Mad Max would have annoyed Jordan on defense and at the very least slowed him down. Having the defensive presence of Olajuwon in the paint also would cause trouble for Jordan driving the paint.
Michael Jordan was back with the Bulls by 1995. Though he was not 100% himself, he and his team still lost to the Orlando Magic in 6 games. Jordan even dropped 40 points in one of the losses.
The world will never know what would have happened if Michael Jordan had never retired in the mid-’90s. The Rockets, however, would be a great team regardless.
Be sure to check out RESPECT Magazine to see more stuff by Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson. And special thanks to Scoop B for giving me access to the transcript of the interview. You can find him on Twitter at @ScoopB.