It has been nearly 25 years to the day since the Houston Rockets’ battle against the Spurs in the West Finals. Olajuwon vs. Robinson? Yes, let’s look back.
Houston Rockets‘ aficionados — the 25th anniversary of one of the best playoff moments in NBA History is among us as we look back at the one-on-one showdown with Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson. In the second part of what made the 1995 Houston Rockets special, we examine why Hakeem Olajuwon won his duel with the Admiral.
When someone on the outside thinks of Texas, there seems to be one image that they think of: a cowboy. No, not the Dallas Cowboys. I’m talking about a guy with a hat, boots, a vest, scarf, and a spur (no pun intended) that rides into town, gets a drink, has a confrontation with some jerk, wins, gets another drink, and rides into the sunset all in one day.
Well, Houston is an urban city that might not be as much Texan as outsiders think of even though we do host the greatest rodeo in town every spring. Yet, we do have some fair share of cowboys good and bad. We might have had Chuck Norris in Walker, Texas Ranger, but we did have one guy when a duel.
The setting is perfect. An all-Texas NBA Western Conference Finals. His will be done. This matchup had the makings of an old wild west shootout. Only this shootout involved the John Wayne and Clint Eastwood of the day. This shootout didn’t take place in a western town. It took place in two basketball courts.
While mosts westerns see the man in the white hat win, this one saw a man in the black hat win. Now, when I say black hat, the guy I’m referring too wasn’t a bad guy. He was just an outsider to the adoring public who were giving praises to the man wearing the white hat. When he left, there was no clear denial of how talented this man was.
I’m talking of course about Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon and the epic performance in the 1995 Western Conference Finals that propelled Houston to the NBA Finals. The man he defeated was the Admiral, David Robinson. This showdown was expected to be an interesting one. Yet, nobody saw the Houston Rockets being in the Western Conference Finals. They were supposed to lose to the Utah Jazz in the first round with John Stockton, Karl Malone, and head coach Jerry Sloan (RIP). Houston didn’t. They were supposed to lose to the Phoenix Suns. Houston didn’t and added a little Kiss of Death of their own.
It had been a great run-up to this point, but the story was going to get better. Time now to look into the showdown of this series.