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Rudy Tomjanovich: 'Michael Jordan Said He Couldn't Contain Hakeem Olajuwon. He Said They Didn't Have The Personnel To Do It.'

Fadeaway World

Fadeaway World

One of the biggest mysteries in the NBA during the 90s was what would have happened if the Chicago Bulls of Michael Jordan faced the Hakeem Olajuwon-led Houston Rockets in the NBA Finals. From 1991 through 1998, these two teams won the NBA title, becoming the biggest force in the league during their successful runs.

A lot of people wondered who would have been the winner of a series between both franchises when they were at their peak. Jordan leading the Bulls and Hakeem taking his Rockets to the promised land would have been something fun to watch in the Finals.

That matchup would have been really interesting to say, having in mind that Olajuwon was a force that the Bulls couldn’t stop whenever they faced each other in the regular season.

According to Michael Lee of The Athletic, then-Rockets coach, Rudy Tomjanovich, talked with Jordan after his 1998 retirement about a hypothetical matchup between their teams, with MJ saying he didn’t feel his Bulls were going to be able to stop Hakeem.

Unprompted, Tomjanovich said, Jordan offered some praise for what the Rockets accomplished.

“He gave our team great respect,” Tomjanovich said. “He didn’t feel that they could contain Hakeem [Olajuwon]. They just didn’t have the personnel to do it. And he said he thought we were the team that gave them the most trouble.”

Rockets and Bulls were close to seeing each other in the Finals in 1995 but the Orlando Magic led by Penny Hardaway and Shaquille O’Neal ended Chicago’s hopes to win their fourth title. These teams peaked at different years and it’s a shame we never got to see them clash in the biggest series of all.

However, MJ believes the Bulls would have had a hard time trying to stop ‘The Dream’ and all his power in the paint.