The night an NBA player receives their MVP trophy should be one to never forget. After all, it’s an affirmation of all his hard work and premiere status amongst his peers. I’m sure David Robinson’s still happy with his MVP trophy and two rings in the following years of his career. Yet Tuesday May 30, 1995 wasn’t one of those Hollywood MVP performances following Game 2’s pre-game ceremony.
Hakeem had his mind on takeover mode as he dropped 42 points on 19-30 shooting, 9 boards, 8 dimes and 5 blocks largely on The Admiral’s high top fade. Houston would go on to win the pivotal game 5, wrap the series back at The Summit and sweep Orlando towards back-to-back championships. Navy David got a front stage pass at the torrid run: lucky him.
Now let’s direct our attention to Hakeem’s forthcoming highlight reel from that night. Clyde had that “He’s unstoppable!” face out of “Mo Money Mo Problems” at 2:03. Bob Hill saw defeat by 3:25. Then Hakeem’s reaction to the score late in the game at 5:15?
You know how much that’s worth.
The only downside about Hakeem’s incredible performance is the lack of recognition it gets in the lexicon of big post season games. He single-handedly swung the series and title hopes in Houston’s favor all while beating two of his biggest rivals in David Robinson and Shaq. I’m also willing to bet Robinson snubbing Hakeem in his acceptance speech as one of the great bigs he played against gave Olajuwon the juice. All that lore gets lost since heads were and are still on some “but Mike wasn’t ‘back’ yet” jive talk. Sounds like sour grapes with a twist of hate to me.
NBA kiddos better pay attention. This is what 42 points on the NBA’s best interior defender looks like. Watch and save the video to your bookmarks because you’re witnessing a bygone era of low post supremacy. Lord knows when we’ll see another performance like this. (PROTIP: It won’t be anytime soon.)