Hakeem Abdul Olajuwon is a revered name in the world of NBA. Considered to be one of the legends of the game, his career record is as impressive as it can possibly get.
Previously known as Akeem Olajuwon, this Nigerian-American professional basketball player is a legendary central player of the game. In fact, he also got the nickname of the “The Dream” because of the beauty of his game. His effortless shots and skilled handling of the ball made him a treat to watch.
Between 1984 and 2002, he played for the Toronto Raptors and the Houston Rockets in the National Basketball Association. In fact, the Rockets won back-to-back NBA championships in the years 1994 and 1995 under his leadership.
Hakeem Abdul Olajuwon entered the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008 and then went on to become a part of the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2016.
Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Olajuwon was taught the importance of hard work and discipline early in life. He started out as a soccer goalkeeper, and this experience contributed to his excellent footwork and agility later in life when he switched to basketball. He stood out because of his power to optimize his size and strength when playing basketball and football helped in its development.
In fact, Olajuwon played basketball for the first time in a local tournament when he was seventeen years of age. He did not become an expert in a day and had to overcome a fair share of obstacles early on. However, once he fell in love with the game, there was no looking back.
Olajuwon made his way to the University of Houston and his head coach, Guy Lewis helped him along the way. He played for the Cougars and contributed significantly to their success.
The Houston Rockets drafted him during the first overall selection of the NBA draft in 1984. Along with Ralph Sampson, he formed the formidable duo called the “Twin Towers” who were responsible for the Rockets reaching the 1986 NBA Finals. When Sampson went over to the Warriors in the year 1988, Olajuwon assumed leadership, and there was no competition in his way.
Olajuwon stunned the basketball world during the 1993–94 and 1994–95 seasons with his performance as a center player. In fact, he emerged victorious as compared to players like Patrick Ewing, Shaquille O’Neal, Dennis Rodman and Karl Malone. When the Rockets won the championship in the 1994 NBA Finals after defeating the New York Knicks, Olajuwon also scored a win against his rival Patrick Ewing.
The year 1994 turned out great for Olajuwon with him being the only player in NBA history to win the MVP, Finals MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards in one season. The Rockets lost their two-year championship streak when they lost in the 1996 NBA Playoffs.
Olajuwon went over to the Toronto Raptors for draft picks after he turned out down a $13 million deal with the Rockets. Hakeem Abdul Olajuwon retired in 2002 after a fruitful career that placed him in the top tier of
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Impact on Africa
In 2014, Olajuwon was named NBA ambassador to Africa and plays a prominent role in the development of basketball on the continent. Olajuwon hopes to help make an impact on young Africans to help them utilize the benefits of sport to change lives for the better.
He represents the NBA through a range of basketball development events and “NBA Cares” activities across Africa in an effort to grow the game, give back to the communities and help raise attention to diplomacy through sport.