The Houston Rockets are constantly on the receiving end of disrespect. It's well-known that the Rockets are no stranger to that.
The national media will always get their cracks in. And to a certain degree, it's understandable. They have a job to do and the easy thing to do is cling to narratives.
However, it's a bit different when former players slight a legend. And it's especially disappointing when former legends like Julius Erving and Shaquillle O'Neal don't give Hakeem Olajuwon his flowers.
It all started when Erving joined Joy De'Angela to give his top-ten list, leaving O'Neal off.
Erving's list is below:
Most of the focus regarding Erving's list was centered around the fact that LeBron James and Kobe Bryant didn't make the cut. But no mention of Olajuwon, either on Erving's list or even among the criticisms of his list.
O'Neal countered with his own list, seeking to avenge Erving's omissions.
Still no mention of Olajuwon, which is surprising, coming from Shaq, who admitted that Olajuwon "busted his a- when the two faced off in the 1995 NBA Finals.
“Hakeem busted my a-… We beat Houston that year. Hakeem would get his and I would get mine. So we were like ‘I got him. He’s gonna put up his numbers but he’s gonna have to guard me too.’ In the Finals he was just a different beast. I was like damn, this is a different Hakeem right here.”
Houston Rockets all-time great is strangely left off all-time lists by NBA legends
The Olajuwon erasure from Shaq is also surprising, as The Big Diesel seems to constantly base his evaluation of greatness and overall dominance on championship rings, however, Iverson and Malone don't have any titles under their belt and they both made the list.
Now back to Erving's list.
Jerry West was an absolute stud. The guy is the NBA logo for a reason. But not only did he go 1-for-9 in the NBA Finals, he wasn't a better overall player than Olajuwon. Offensively, sure, I can get on board with giving the nod to West, but the defensive dominance of Olajuwon tips the scales in his favor. At least it should.
But here's why these lists are disrespectful to Olajuwon: he's a two-time NBA champion who ranks first in blocks and is in the top-five in steals, rebounds, and points. In addition, he's still the only player to win MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, NBA Finals MVP, and a championship in the same year.
And he's one of only four players in league history to record a quadruple-double.
Olajuwon is certainly a top-ten player, regardless of who has to come off for him to be included. And regardless of who tries to say otherwise.