This weekend, the world bore witness to the slap heard around the world, as actor Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock during the 2022 Oscars after Rock made a joke about Smith's wife. Since then, the NBA community has been one of the many that have begun to contribute to discussions about the slap, throwing in some contenders of their own for the title of 'most shocking slap'.
One of the slaps that have gone viral since then is of a young rookie from the 1984 NBA Draft class. A video of Hakeem Olajuwon, who was a rookie at the time, slapping Utah Jazz player Billy Paultz in the face in the middle of the game. Olajuwon, who was the first overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft, was touted as one of the future stars of the league, and so a moment like this was not a good look for him.
There isn't a lot of information about what exactly led to the physical altercation between the two. But clearly, Olajuwon was not happy with Paultz and something that happened during the game. And in a heated moment, decided to take matters into his own hands and slap Paultz in the middle of the game. Clearly, tensions were running high for Olajuwon, and he let his emotions get the better of him.
Luckily, this one moment did not come to define Olajuwon and his legacy. Hakeem Olajuwon went on to become one of the greatest NBA players of all time, winning 2 NBA championships and Finals MVPs and winning an MVP and 2 Defensive Player Of The Year awards.
In fact, Hakeem is one of only 3 players in NBA history to win regular-season MVP and Defensive Player Of The Year, with only Michael Jordan and Giannis Antetokounmpo having done the same.