When talking about the greatest big men in the game, Shaquille O'Neal is often one of the first names mentioned. In fact, he's probably one of the top 10 greatest players ever, at any position.
But according to Robert Horry, who played with O'Neal in his prime, "the Diesel" wasn't as good as Rockets superstar Hakeem Olajuwon.
In an appearance on the "Ryan Russillo podcast," he explained why:
“Hakeem was better,” Horry said. “Shaq was more dominant, but Hakeem was better. … I think Dream had more talent. Shaq had handles, but Dream had a little bit better handles. Dream could shoot free throws, and we all know about Shaq’s free throws. He had a fadeaway.”
For as good as Shaq was, he dominated using size, strength, and sheer power. O'Neal was unstoppable and simply unguardable under the rim, but he never really developed a go-to shot and had several limitations on the offensive end.
For Hakeem, however, he could really do it all. Layups, post hooks, dunks, fadeaways -- there was almost nothing he couldn't do. He was also faster, lighter, and a much better ball=handler than Shaq ever was.
And while Hakeem hardly gets recognition in the conversation for the best center, his resume really does speak for itself. He's a 12x All-Star, 9x All-Defensive player, 2x Defensive Player of the Year, and 2x NBA Champion.
Whether you agree that he's better than O'Neal or not, perhaps it's time we all give him his due respect...