Rockets’ Hakeem Olajuwon picks between Michael Jordan and LeBron James

Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta and Clyde Drexler (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta and Clyde Drexler (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

Houston Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon became the latest to share his thoughts on the Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James debate for the greatest player of all time.

For many, the greatest NBA player of all time conversation centers around Michael Jordan and LeBron James, and rightfully so, as both players have been iconic and have been the most dominant players of their eras. There are those who differ from this perspective, like former Houston Rockets star Clyde Drexler, who stated that the G.O.A.T. conversation should first start with Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Drexler’s former championship teammate Hakeem Olajuwon, who is also one of the greatest players of all time, recently joined the discussion pertaining to whether LeBron James or Michael Jordan is the greatest of all-time, choosing the latter.

“When people start comparing him with Jordan, then that’s not a fair comparison. Jordan was a far more superior player in a very tough league, and he was very creative. That’s not taking away anything from LeBron because he is a great player, but it is not a fair comparison because Jordan is a far superior player.”

Houston Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon shares thoughts on G.O.A.T. debate

Olajuwon is one of the most qualified people to speak on the matter, as he played against Jordan and the Chicago Bulls’ title teams, while also providing one-on-one coaching for LeBron James, who reached out to The Dream to pick his brain on how to add more post moves to his game.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Olajuwon is picking Jordan, as we know former players oftentimes elevate the difficulty of the league when they played, as Olajuwon does here.

Former Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey recently shared his thoughts on the matter and offered a different perspective than both Drexler and Olajuwon, which is further proof of how torn many are on the G.O.A.T. discussion. Morey stated:

“People love to talk about this. For sure LeBron is the greatest human to play basketball. That’s not even a question, but it’s not even fair to Michael Jordan to say that. LeBron is years later and the game has evolved. And every athlete is pretty much better than the athletes were 30 years ago.

If you put MJ in the league now, that would be an interesting discussion but if you just want to say who is the best human to ever play basketball, I think it’s pretty obvious.”

Morey agreed with Olajuwon in stating that it’s not fair to make the comparison, but provided a far different reason than Olajuwon did for why the conversation is unfair.

The challenge with comparing Jordan and LeBron is that both players played in much different eras, which yielded much different playing styles. In addition, both players had far different games, as LeBron has a superior court vision and is a better outside shooter.

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The reality is that LeBron doesn’t become the player he became without having Jordan’s game to study and try to mirror. But the debate will certainly not go away anytime soon, and especially with LeBron capturing his fourth title, making him just two shy of Jordan’s six.