Rockets history: Olajuwon nearly has two quadruple-doubles in same month

Houston Rockets Hakeem Olajuwon (Photo by Norm Perdue/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Hakeem Olajuwon (Photo by Norm Perdue/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images) /

Although quadruple-doubles are extremely rare, Houston Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon nearly posted two in the same month during the 1989-90 season.

It’s well known that Houston Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon is one of the greatest players in NBA history, and Olajuwon is arguably the greatest center in NBA history as well. Olajuwon was a 12-time All-Star, two-time Defensive Player of the Year, two-time NBA Finals MVP, 12-time All-NBA, 9-time All-Defense, and the MVP of the 1993-94 NBA season. The Dream also led the Rockets to consecutive NBA titles, and eventually became a first ballot Hall-of-Famer.

Olajuwon is still the only player in league history to win Defensive Player of the Year, MVP, and NBA Finals MVP all in the same season, which is likely something we’ll never see again. Olajuwon also posted 14 career triple-doubles, which is unheard of for a center, especially during the era in which he played.

For as great as Olajuwon was, there’s one feat he accomplished that illustrates the magnitude of his greatness: the quadruple-double. It seems impossible for a player to accomplish such a feat, and the numbers validate that claim, as there have only been four players in league history who have done it, including Olajuwon.

When the Rockets faced off against the Milwaukee Bucks on March 29th of the 1989-90 season, the Rockets were notably struggling, as they had lost four of their previous six games leading upto that game. The Rockets were 34-36 at the time, and needed every victory down the stretch if they wanted to make the postseason. The Bucks on the other hand were 37-33, which didn’t necessarily amount to an easy opponent.

The Rockets would ultimately win 120-94, as the Bucks didn’t have an answer for Olajuwon, who finished with 11 blocks, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists, which were all game-highs. The Rockets had six players in double figures, as The Dream was playing facilitator and dropping dimes left and right.

Olajuwon also added 18 points of his own and played a team-high 40 minutes in the game, as he was determined to lead the Rockets to victory. What’s crazy about The Dream’s quadruple-double is that he nearly accomplished this feat twice in the same season, as he came within one assist short of reaching the same milestone during the same month.

When the Rockets faced off against the Golden State Warriors on March 3rd of the 1989-90 season, Dream had 28 points, 19 rebounds, 11 blocks and nine assists, which is yet another example of the rare and exceptional of a player Olajuwon was.

Following Olajuwon’s quadruple-double performance against the Bucks, The Dream would go on to post a double-double in the Rockets’ next seven games. The Houston Rockets would ultimately make the playoffs, but were eliminated in the first round by the Los Angeles Lakers.

What’s interesting about that season for Olajuwon is that he wasn’t named to the First-Team All-NBA team, which goes to show how undervalued his quadruple-efforts were during that season. The University of Houston product did make the First-Team All-Defensive team, but made the Second-Team All-NBA team during that season.

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Although it may have gotten overlooked at the time, we may never see two near quadruple-doubles in a player’s entire career, let alone in the same calendar month.