Rockets’ Matt Bullard on difference between Olajuwon and Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan (Photo by Dave Rossman/Getty Images for Bragman Nyman Cafarelli)
Michael Jordan (Photo by Dave Rossman/Getty Images for Bragman Nyman Cafarelli) /

Former Houston Rockets forward Matt Bullard recently weighed in on the differences between two NBA legends, Hakeem Olajuwon and Michael Jordan.

The entire sports world has been captivated by ESPN and Netflix’s “The Last Dance”, which has been documenting the life of Michael Jordan on and off the court every Sunday. Recently, former Houston Rocket forward  Matt Bullard joined the A-Team on SportsTalk 790 to share his thoughts on Jordan and how his personality differed from that of Hakeem Olajuwon.

Bullard explains how he trusts B.J. Armstrong‘s version of events from the most recent episodes, as he was teammates with him at the University of Iowa. “Michael Jordan was so driven to win that he was having to pull his teammates along,” said Bullard.

“Now that his teammates have had a chance to look back on their careers, they realize just how important it was for Jordan to be pushing them and hardening them so that they can win championships.”

As we’ve all been seeing from “The Last Dance”, Jordan certainly had a “take no nonsense from anyone” approach to the game. Teammates essentially had to adapt to his leadership style or be left behind.

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Bullard then spoke about Hakeem Olajuwon, who led him and the Rockets to the NBA title in 1993-94. “Hakeem did it differently than Jordan did,” said Bullard. “Hakeem didn’t get in your face. He didn’t challenge teammates. He led by example.”

Matt continued, mentioning the differences in the personalities of the two greats.

“Everybody has a different personality. Hakeem was much quieter and much more respectful. [He was] much more of an example of how to do it. The rest of us were able to follow Hakeem and let him carry us. He was very humble and gracious about it.”

Olajuwon certainly did have a silent assassin quality to him as he dominated the league, particularly in the 1990s. Jordan, while using a different approach, was just as effective as a teammate when you look at what he accomplished.

Bullard went on to say that there’s no  “one right way” to lead a team, which is evident in how successful both Jordan and Olajuwon were in their career.

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As Bullard concluded, “Everybody has to lead with their own personality”.