Olajuwon has shown that while he's respectful of his peers, he's not easily intimidated. Before one preseason game with the Celtics, Lucas decided to show him around storied Boston Garden. Olajuwon's only response was: "Messed up place." And he had no idea who or what Fitch was talking about when the coach said he wanted him to do a "Red on Roundball" segment with one Arnold (Red) Auerbach for WTBS's halftime feature.
All in all, there seems to be plenty of space for Sampson's and Olajuwon's contrasting personalities. "You see these two high-rise condominiums with no problems," says Lucas, "and all us little folks down here, us shrubs and plants, can't have any, either."
Already the two stand alone, because no towering combination in NBA history—not Chamberlain-Thurmond, not Chamberlain-Jackson, not Parish-McHale—has ever run the floor or played the whole game the way Sampson-Olajuwon can. In the fourth quarter against Dallas, Lucas took off on a fast break and threw a behind-the-back pass to his trailer, who happened to be Sampson. The pass was errant, but here came trailer No. 2, who happened to be Olajuwon. The Dream scooped up the ball and floated in for a field goal.
"I think," said Rocket general manager Ray Patterson, "that they're a new phenomenon."
They are. Only time will tell if they're also phenomenal.