“I’m Scared of the Big African”: The One NBA Player Michael Jordan Was Most Afraid of

Published 04/20/2020, 8:31 PM EDT


Michael Jordan might have been one of the fiercest competitors in the game but there was one player he was afraid of, according to former player Robert Horry. Horry talked about this is in 2016 at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He said that “The Dream” Hakeem Olajuwon was one player that got the better of Jordan.

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Horry, who has played alongside a few quality centers inbulls his career, has always held high regard for Olajuwon. Shaquille O’Neal and Tim Duncan were among his teammates after Olajuwon. For Horry, Olajuwon was, in his words, “20 times better than Duncan.

“They had nobody that could guard Dream,” Horry had said once ESPN’s The Jump. “They had nobody that could guard Dream. I’m gonna say that twice because Dream was just that dominant. When we played San Antonio one time, Tim (Duncan) was killing me on the block, and (then-Lakers coach) Phil (Jackson) refused to double-team Tim to get the ball out of his hands. And Dream is 20 times better than Tim Duncan.”

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Michael Jordan feared Hakeem Olajuwon, according to Robert Horry

Olajuwon was not only the best center according to Horry but he was also the player that Jordan feared.

“If you ask Michael Jordan what one guy he ever feared, it was Hakeem Olajuwon,” Horry said in an interview in 2016 at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “He used to say ‘I’m scared of the big African‘ because he’s from Nigeria.”

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Olajuwon played for Houston Rockets between 1984 and 2001. Jordan also started his NBA career in 1984 and they would meet quite a few times over the next few years. Interestingly, Olajuwon had a good record over Jordan’s Bulls.

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The basketball community is currently talking about Michael Jordan. The first episode of ESPN’s 10-series documentary on Jordan aired on Sunday taking fans back to the glory days.

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Saketh Kandadai

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