Skip to main content

Kenny Smith Says The Houston Rockets Would Have Defeated Michael Jordan And The Chicago Bulls In The Finals: “We Would Have Beat Their A**”

Kenny Smith Says The Houston Rockets Would Have Defeated Michael Jordan And The Chicago Bulls In The Finals: “We Would Have Beat Their A**”

One of the biggest 'what-ifs' in NBA history involves the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls and the iconic Houston Rockets that won two championships while MJ was out playing baseball. 

Many people have wondered what would have happened if MJ never retired from the game in 1993 and decided to run it back with his Bulls. During the time he was out, the Houston Rockets became a strong force in the league and won back-to-back championships against the New York Knicks and Orlando Magic, respectively. 

Once MJ got his basketball conditioning back, there was no stop for the Bulls, who added three more championships to their cabinets, becoming one of the best dynasties in NBA history. We were never close to seeing them facing the Rockets in the Finals, and the time they had a chance to do so, Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway ruined their chances. 

This situation left many fans wondering what if we would have seen the two teams that dominated the biggest part of the 90s. Well, it seems like Kenny Smith has the answer to that. He was part of the 2x NBA champions Rockets, and for him, the answer was pretty clear. 

During a recent edition of SHOWTIME's All the Smoke, Kenny talked about the hypothetical matchup between the Bulls and Rockets (58:08):

“Mike's still the best player in the world I’ve ever seen, but that means you would have had to win eight championships in a row. He’s not going to win eight in a row. He’s not. No one’s done it in the modern era. He wouldn’t have done that,” Smith said. “Secondly, there was no Horace Grant. He left (signing with the Orlando Magic in free agency in 1994). Then, they became way too small. In the regular season, we went (5-1 against them). They never beat us in the regular season. We used to go to Chicago, smack them. Come back to Houston, smack them up. B.J. (Armstrong) and (John) Paxson and those guys were good players, but they were too slow for us on the perimeter and (Bill) Wennington and them couldn’t guard (Olajuwon).”

“They were too little, that’s why Shaq and them got them,” Smith said. “When he came back, it wasn’t that he was coming back from baseball, it’s that they were too little to guard Shaq. They lost to a team 4-2 that we swept. We swept Shaq and them. So, no, no, no. They would not have beaten us. And if I didn’t come in there and I’m not splashing you with 3s, Sam Cassell is coming in there and giving you 25. Robert Horry was the new Scottie Pippen then. He wasn’t just standing outside, he was handling the ball, flying through the air. Then, Clyde (Drexler)? Nah, they would not have beat us. They were just too little and they wouldn’t have won eight in a row.”

“We would have beat their ass,” Smith concluded. 

The thing is that we'll never know how this matchup would have ended, but many people have an idea of which team would have prevailed. Hakeem Olajuwon was a nightmare for defenders, and that would have been a big factor for Houston. Michael Jordan would have tried to do his thing and will his team to the promised land and give us another incredible series. It's too bad we never got to see this series, but that can create good debates about these hypothetical matchups.