The 1994 NBA Finals was somewhat of a "ho-hum" event for the casual basketball fan. It was the first in four years that did not feature the world's best player in Michael Jordan, and interest seemed to take a bit of a hit. That is until breaking news would interrupt Game 5 and take center stage above all else when O.J. Simpson's historic car chase took over the broadcast. However, hidden behind all of the drama, Houston center Hakeem Olajuwon put on a performance of epic proportions.
The 1993-94 New York Knicks were one of the best defensive teams of all time. Futhermore, Olajuwon was not only going up against a great overall team defense, but also its linchpin in fellow 2008 Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing. Their matchup was one of the few times in recent history that two all-timers went head-to-head in a Finals and guarded each other nearly the entire time. Heading into the 1994 NBA Finals, the accolades were piling up for these two big men. Ewing was an eight-time All-Star, an All-NBA guy (First team once, Second team five times), and an All-Defense center (Second team three times). Olajuwon was even more decorated. He was the MVP of the league, a nine-time All-Star, a two-time Defensive Player of the Year (including that season), All-NBA eight times (five First team, two Second team, one Third team), and All-Defense seven times (five First team, two Second team).
The verdict? The Dream established his dominance over The Hoya Destroya. Olajuwon posted a freakish stat line that included 26.9 points, 9.1 boards, 3.9 blocks and 3.6 assists. Included in those numbers were a game-saving block of a John Starks jumper in Game 6, and an assist on the series-clinching 3-pointer by Vernon Maxwell in Game 7.
As for Ewing? He shot 36.9 percent from the field and Olajuwon outscored him in all seven games. If not for such amazing performances in the battle of Hall of Fame centers, Houston wouldn't have come close to the title.