JR Smith goes off on ESPN ranking Dirk Nowitzki ahead of Hakeem Olajuwon
Los Angeles Lakers guard JR Smith is a bit perplexed that ESPN ranked Dallas Mavericks icon Dirk Nowitzki ahead of Houston Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon in their top foreign-born NBA players of all-time.
Smith shared his sentiments on Twitter, noting that he doesn’t have any contempt against Nowitzki. He knows what Dirk has done throughout his career, but he expressed his belief that Olajuwon’s accomplishments weigh much greater.
— JR Smith (@TheRealJRSmith) July 20, 2020
Below is the Top 10 list which placed Dirk Nowitzki at No.1 followed by Hakeem Olajuwon at No.2:
For those curious, I tracked down the complete ESPN list from today. Official criteria: Top foreign-born NBA players of all-time.
7.) Pau Gasol
— Ben DuBose (@BenDuBose) July 21, 2020
Several fans replied to Smith’s tweet to echo the same sentiments. People pointed out how in just his second year in the league, The Dream upset the Showtime Lakers in the Western Conference Finals.
Olajuwon is also the only player in league history to win the Most Valuable Player award, Defensive Player of the Year, NBA title and Finals MVP in one season. Fans also noted how Olajuwon holds nearly all major Rockets franchise records.
Apart from JR Smith, Paul Pierce also noted how Olajuwon doesn’t get enough credit. A few months ago, Pierce was irate that Olajuwon was excluded in a top 10 player list.
Paul Pierce: “He [Hakeem Olajuwon] doesn’t get enough credit, he’s the only player in NBA history to win MVP, Defensive player of the year and Finals MVP in the same year.”
The truth speaking the truth pic.twitter.com/B2kWjo3Jxd
— Rob (40-24) (@Hou5ton4L) May 14, 2020
From the looks of it, this will spark all sorts of discussions to carefully evaluate Olajuwon’s place in history. Time and time again, critics have panned his contributions to the game. Like the new Lakers guard, many players and fans are baffled as to why the two-time champ has not been in the conversation as one of the greatest players of all time.