Rockets: Why Horry’s comparison of Embiid to Olajuwon is an insult

Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

Robert Horry was a key component of several championship teams throughout his 16-year NBA career. Horry won 7 NBA titles with the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, and San Antonio Spurs, and had the luxury of playing for several of the NBA’s coaching icons, such as Rudy Tomjanovich, Phil Jackson, and Gregg Popovich.

Horry also played alongside several of the game’s best players, and the list of big men that he’s taken the court with is enviable, as he’s played with the likes of Hakeem OlajuwonShaquille O’Neal, and Tim Duncan. Based on that list, Horry clearly knows a dominant big man when he sees one, which makes his recent comments about Joel Embiid rather interesting.

Horry recently joined FanSided for an exclusive interview in which he spoke about a variety of topics, including his amazement with the Philadelphia 76ers star center.

“The way Embiid is playing right now, he is playing out of his mind. He reminds me of a David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Shaq all rolled into one, so he is just killing it.”

Yes, you read that right. Horry said Embiid is a combination of Olajuwon, Shaq, and David Robinson all morphed into one.

Why Robert Horry’s comparison of Joel Embiid to Houston Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon is an insult

Let’s first say that Embiid is a dominant player and was on pace to becoming the 2020-21 MVP, as he’s averaged 29.5 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 3 assists, on 63.3 percent true shooting and 37.5 percent from 3-point range. Embiid suffered a left knee bone bruise that sidelined him for 10 consecutive games, upping his total of missed games to 19 this season, which is likely enough to remove him from MVP consideration this season.

But even if he hadn’t have gotten injured, it would still have been much too early in his career to compare him to any of the players that the Houston Rockets forward mentioned. Olajuwon is still the only player in NBA history to win MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, and Finals MVP in the same season. Olajuwon also won two championships, led the league in blocks on 3 different occasions, led the league in rebounds on multiple occasions, and won Defensive Player of the Year numerous times.

Olajuwon is also one of only 4 players in league history to post a quadruple-double, which he accomplished twice. It’s safe to Embiid isn’t better than Olajuwon alone, but let’s look into the other players Horry listed.

Like the Houston Rockets legend, Shaquille O’Neal also won an MVP but has 4 championships under his belt. O’Neal was simply unstoppable, as he posted averages of 28.1 points in the 10 years between 1993-2003.

As for Robinson, he was a much more elite defender than Embiid will likely ever be (which is no diss to Embiid, but Robinson was just that good defensively). Robinson has a Defensive Player of the Year title under his belt and was also the blocks champion in 1991-92, while also being a two-time champion.

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I could go much further into these player comparisons but I think you get the point by now. Each of the players that Horry listed are all individually better than Embiid, and especially at this stage of his career.