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Hakeem Olajuwon
Hakeem Olajuwon
Olajuwon at the 29th Annual Great Sports
Legend dinner in 2014.
January 21, 1963 (1963-01-21) (age 57)
Lagos, Nigeria
6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)
255 lbs (116 kg)
Houston (1981-1984)
1984; Round: 1 / Pick: 1st
1984-2002 (18 years)
Position Center
Jersey no. 34, 15
1984-2001 Houston Rockets
2001-2002 Toronto Raptors
Hakeem Olajuwon at NBA.com

Hakeem Olajuwon (born January 21, 1963 in Lagos, Nigeria) is an American retired professional basketball player. From 1984 to 2002, he played in the National Basketball Association for the Houston Rockets and the Toronto Raptors. He led the Rockets to back to back championships in 1994 and 1995. In 2008, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, and in 2016, he was inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame. Listed at 7 ft 0 in (2.13 meters), Olajuwon is considered one of the greatest centers to ever play the game. He was nicknamed "The Dream" after he dunked so effortlessly that his college coach said that it "looked like a dream".

Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Olajuwon traveled from his home country to play basketball for the University of Houston under Guy Lewis. His college career for the Cougars included 3 trips to the Final Four. Liaison was drafted by the Houston Rockets in the 1984 NBA Draft that included Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, and John Stockton. He combined with the 7 ft 4 in Ralph Sampson to form a duo dubbed "The Twin Towers". The two led the Rockets to the 1986 NBA Finals, where they lost in 6 games to the Boston Celtics. After Sampson was traded to the Warriors in 1988, Olajuwon became the Rockets' undisputed leader. He led the league in rebounds twice (1989, 1990) and led the league in blocks 3 times (1990, 1991, 1993).

Despite very nearly traded during a bitter contract dispute before the 1992-1993 season, he remained in Houston where in 1993-1994, he became the only player in NBA History to win the NBA MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, and NBA Finals MVP in the same season. His Rockets won back to back championships against Patrick Ewing's New York Knicks and Shaquille O'Neal's Orlando Magic. Olajuwon was a member of the 1996 Gold Medal Winning USA Basketball team and was selected as one of the 50Greatest Players in NBA History. He ended his career as the NBA's all time leader in blocks, 3,830, and is one of the 4 players to ever record a quadruple-double.

Early Life

Hakeem was born on January 21st 1963 in Lagos, Nigeria.

Houston Rockets

In 1984, Hakeem was drafted 1st overall by the Houston Rockets. He averaged 20.6 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks per gane in his rookie year, but it wasn't enough to earn him Rookie of the year, as Michael Jordan won the award. The Rockets also made the playoffs in his rookie year, but lost the 1st round to the Utah Jazz. The Rockets also made the playoffs other years, vut they were unable to win the title.

But then, they acquired Clyde Drexler, and Michael Jordan retired to become a baseball player. Then the Rockets took advantage of Jordan's absence by winning 2 consecutive titles: 1 in the 1993-94 season and 1 in the 1994-95 season. Olajuwon was named Finals MVP for both years.

However, despite acquiring Charles Barkley, Jordan returned. And the Rockets haven't won a title ever since.

Toronto Raptors

On August 2, 2001, the Houston Rockets traded Olajuwon to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for 2 future draft picks. But Olajuwon was on his last legs, averaging only 7.1 points and 7.4 rebounds with the Raptors, both career lows. Although the Raptors did make the playoffs, they lost the first round to the Detroit Pistons. Olajuwon retired after that disappointing year. 

Honors

  • 2x NBA Champion
  • 1994 NBA MVP
  • 12x NBA All-Star
  • 2× NBA Defensive Player of the Year
  • 6× All-NBA First Team
  • 3× All-NBA Second Team
  • 3× All-NBA Third Team
  • 5× NBA All-Defensive First Team
  • 4× NBA All-Defensive Second Team
  • NBA All-Rookie Team (1985)
  • NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team

See Also

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