Washington Wizards head coach Scott Brooks is confident the Houston Rockets had no competition in the NBA back in 1994, not even the reigning NBA champions, the Chicago Bulls. Brooks, who was part of that team, believes not even having Michael Jordan with them would have prevented the Rockets and Hakeem Olajuwon to win the championship that season.
At the end of the 1993-94 season, Jordan decided to retire from basketball to pursue a career in baseball. The next campaign, Olajuwon and his Rockets reached their peak, winning back-to-back titles over the New York Knicks and the Orlando Magic, respectively. Brooks was a guard of that 1993/94 and he doesn’t think MJ would have had anything to do against ‘The Dream’.
“[The Bulls] had no answer for [Olajuwon]. It’s easy for me to say this now because it’s all hypothetical, but I don’t think they would have beat us in ’94,” Scott Brooks said on the Wizards Talk podcast, via NBC Sports Washington.
“Now, the next year it could have been a different story. But that ’94 team, ‘Dream’ was, it was like destiny. He was locked in. I’ve never seen a guy up close every fourth quarter, I don’t even think he missed a shot, let alone make a mistake. He had both ends just covered.”
This is one of those dream matchups that we never got to see during the 90s. Jordan retired the season the Rockets win their first of two consecutive championships. When he returned to the league in 1995, Penny Hardaway, Shaquille O’Neal, and Horace Grant eliminated the Bulls in the playoffs. The Magic would play the Finals against the Rockets, where they got swept.
In 1994, Olajuwon had won the regular-season MVP award and the 1994 Finals MVP trophy. He posted incredible numbers, averaging 27.3 points, 11.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 3.7 blocks while shooting 52.8% from the field. In the Finals, he averaged 26.9 points and 9.1 rebounds. The man was unstoppable.
After the Rockets won their second title, Jordan said it was enough and took his Bulls to the promised land for three consecutive seasons once again. It’s too bad we never saw these teams clash in the Finals.