Shaquille O’Neal Once Caused a Stir With Controversial GOAT Comments: “Michael Jordan is Not Better Than Hakeem Olajuwon. Stay in Your Category”

Published 12/16/2021, 11:30 AM EST
ORLANDO, FL – 1993: Shaquille O’Neal #32 of the Orlando Magic poses with Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls prior to playing an NBA game circ 1993 at the TD WAterhouse Centre in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1993 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)


One of the most common topics of debate among NBA fans is determining the greatest player of all time. Many names like Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar are commonly brought up in that discussion. Some argue that there cannot be a single greatest player of all time. Considering that basketball is a team sport, every player has a separate role to play on the court. Therefore, they feel there can be the greatest team, but not a singular greatest player.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal stood by this opinion and made a strong assertion to convey his point.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

On NBA on TNT, a few years ago they were debating if a healthy DeMarcus Cousins is better than Klay Thompson. When Barkley compared this discussion to saying Michael Jordan is better than centers, O’Neal said, “Michael Jordan is better than what big?…. Well, he ain’t better than Hakeem Olajuwon. Stay in your category.” 

Was Michael Jordan really better than Hakeem Olajuwon?

Fans often argue that Jordan’s retirement was the only reason that Olajuwon and the Rockets won two championship rings. This claim is utterly baseless and makes little sense. While fans know that once Jordan came back he repeated the three-peat but he never faced Hakeem Olajuwon in the Finals. Until 1994, the Houston Rockets did not have a stable roster since Olajuwon reportedly demanded a trade in 1992.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

DIVE DEEPER

Steve Kerr While Comparing Stephen Curry to Michael Jordan: “Michael and Steph Share That Quality Where People Are Literally Buying a Ticket to See Them Play, Because They Know How Special Those Two Guys Are.”

about 1 month ago

If the rationale that the Bulls beat a team that beat Olajuwon’s Rockets to reach the Finals meant Jordan is better than Olajuwon would apply, it would be an absurd conclusion. With the same logic, Magic Johnson and Robert Parish won three of their championships when Jordan was in the league. Does that make them better than Jordan?

LOS ANGELES, CA Spring, 1991 – Los Angeles Lakers Magic Johnson, right, is guarded by Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls in the 1991 NBA Finals in Los Angeles. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

How do you even compare a shooting guard with a center? They all have separate roles and a lapse in either could lead to a total collapse of their game. Therefore, it is absurd to claim that we can compare them to one another.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Watch This Story: LeBron James Five Most Expensive Possessions

Enjoyed reading this article? Download our exclusive app to get 24x7 coverage, latest memes and social media banter. Click here to download.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Chaitanya Dadhwal

486 articles

Chaitanya Dadhwal is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Even though his journalism is driven by his desire to understand both sides of an argument and give a neutral perspective, he is biased towards Houston Rockets and Arsenal, and he has shown exactly how loyal he can be through tough times. Currently a Law student at Jindal Global Law School, he aims to have his own sports management firm one day and enjoys rap music during his time off.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT