Hakeem Olajuwon's greatness sometimes goes slightly underappreciated because of the era he played in. Olajuwon was the 1st overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft, which included Michael Jordan getting selected at number 3.
The 2 players became the standout figures from their draft class. While Michael Jordan was garnering all the plaudits from fans and the media, Olajuwon was not far behind. His level of play was incredibly high, and he helped elevate a then-fledgling Houston Rockets franchise re-emerge in the championship mix.
Hakeem became one of the most notable superstars in the league in the 80s. And during Jordan's 2-year stint away from basketball, he helped the Rockets claim the Bulls' spot as the dominant team in the NBA, winning 2 consecutive NBA titles in 1994 and 1995.
But Hakeem's incredible dominance shone even before that time. In fact, in March of 1990, Hakeem recorded a quadruple-double against the Golden State Warriors with 29 points, 18 rebounds, 11 blocks, and 10 assists.
But the NBA accused the Rockets of stat-padding, adding an extra assist to Olajuwon that wasn't initially given, so the quadruple-double was wiped away, bringing his tally to 29 points, 18 rebounds, 11 blocks, and 9 assists.
Less than a month later, Olajuwon would record an actual quadruple-double, scoring 18 points, 16 rebounds, 11 blocks, and 10 assists against the Milwaukee Bucks. Hakeem became only the 3rd player in NBA history to achieve this historic feat.
Olajuwon was quietly stealing the show in Houston, and establishing himself as one of the greatest big men in NBA history. But when Michael Jordan announced his first retirement, that is when Olajuwon became the foremost figure in the NBA.
Olajuwon was an incredibly gifted player, with a scary combination of size and skill that we haven't seen since. His signature move 'the Dream Shake' would leave opposition players perplexed, as they could rarely find a way to stop him from getting what he wanted.