There’s no doubt about it: Hakeem Olajuwon terrorized the entire city of San Antonio in the 1995 West Finals. There’s just no other way to put it. We’re talking about averaging 35.3 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game, including a 36.6 PPG average on the road in that series.
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The Dream’s 725 points in that year’s playoffs are still the fourth-most all-time, behind Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard. What Olajuwon could do on both ends of the court could put the fear of God into many.
While David Robinson was always a God-fearing man, it’s just too hard to picture the former U.S. Navy Lieutenant physically shaking before playing a game of basketball — unless maybe the locker room was cold.
Seeing it happening the way Rodman implies in his book, with Robinson shaking from a fear of squaring up with The Dream is just too farfetched, given what we know about him.
Did D-Rob struggle to stop Hakeem all series long? For sure. Was he frustrated? Almost certainly.
Hakeem was undoubtedly one of the toughest covers David ever faced, if not the toughest. As it became increasingly clear in that series in 1995 that no one was going to even come close to stopping Olajuwon, I could imagine some negative body language coming from him and the rest of the Spurs in the locker room.
Respect and appropriate fear for his opponent? Sure, Robinson had that in spades for Hakeem. Actual, expressed fear? That seems like a tall tale from Rodman.