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Famous Like Me > Actor > O > Hakeem Olajuwon

Profile of Hakeem Olajuwon on Famous Like Me

Name: Hakeem Olajuwon  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 21st January 1963
Place of Birth: Lagos, Nigeria
Profession: Actor
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Hakeem Abdul Olajuwon (born Akeem Abdul Olajuwon on January 21, 1963 in Lagos, Nigeria) is a former college and professional basketball player whose glory days were with the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association.

Hakeem Olajuwon

Olajuwon was arguably one of the best centers to ever play, along with George Mikan, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O'Neal, Patrick Ewing and David Robinson as the best pivots in basketball history. He was affectionately called "Hakeem the Dream" for his grace on and off the court.

Olajuwon came from Nigeria, and played collegiately at the University of Houston, teaming with Clyde Drexler to form Phi Slamma Jamma. He was considered the top amateur prospect in the summer of 1984 over fellow collegians and future NBA stars Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and John Stockton, and was selected first overall by the Houston Rockets in the 1984 NBA Draft. He was noted as a prankster by his teammates, and once claimed to CBS broadcaster Billy Packer that his favorite food was ice cream.

Olajuwon averaged 20.6 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.68 blocks in his rookie season, finishing as runner-up to Michael Jordan in the 1985 Rookie of the Year voting, and was the only other rookie to receive any votes. The Rockets had immediate success as Olajuwon teamed with the 1984 Rookie of the Year Ralph Sampson to form the original NBA "Twin Towers" duo, taking Houston to the Finals in 1986 where they succumbed to the Boston Celtics. After losing Sampson first to injury and then to trade, the Rockets struggled, though Olajuwon himself thrived individually, being named to the all-NBA First Team in 1987, '88, '89, '93, '94 and '97. He also made the second and third team several times. Olajuwon also won the rebounding and blocked shots titles, becoming the third player ever (after Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton) to lead the league in both categories during the same season. He finished second in scoring in both '95 and '96. Olajuwon also won Defensive Player of the Year honors and league MVP in 1994.

He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1993. He did eventually win the long coveted NBA championship, leading the Rockets to the title in both 1994 and 1995, bringing the first pro sports championships in Houston history. During this period, Olajuwon perfected his set of faking and spinning moves, all of which became known as his trademark Dream Shake and developed intense rivalries with some of the other great centers of that era, as well as his openly hated rival Karl Malone.

Olajuwon continued to lead the team throughout the late 1990s, teaming with Drexler, Barkley, and the newly-acquired Scottie Pippen, but no combination of the four brought Houston a return to prominence. Houston then began a rebuilding effort, bringing in young guards Cuttino Mobley and Steve Francis, the 2000 Co-Rookie of the Year. On August 8, 2001, he was traded to the Toronto Raptors, where he would play his final NBA season before retiring as the all-time leader in blocked shots, well past second-placed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. (Note: the NBA did not keep statistics for blocked shots until Abdul-Jabbar had been in the league several years). Olajuwon is also in the top ten in scoring, rebounding, and steals; he is the only player in NBA history placed in the top ten for all four categories. In 1996, the NBA's 50th anniversary, he was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. Shortly after his retirement, his #34 jersey was retired by the Rockets.

Throughout Olajuwon's college career and early years in the NBA, he was often an undisciplined player, talking back to officials, getting in minor fights with other players, and amassing personal fouls. However, Olajuwon began exploring his spiritual side later in his career, becoming a devout Muslim and deciding to alter his name to the proper Arabic spelling when he became more pious. He officially announced the altering of his name from Akeem to Hakeem on March 9, 1991. "I'm not changing the spelling of my name, I'm correcting it", he explained. Olajuwon was still consistently recognized as one of the league's elite centers despite his strict observance (e.g., fasting during daylight hours) of Ramadan, which occurred during the NBA season during virtually all of his career and is usually a handicap for Muslim athletes. He also gained recognition for his sportsmanlike behavior on the court and his charitable pursuits off the court, and became known as one of the sports world's more intelligent individuals, speaking several languages and having a very developed sense of art appreciation. Hakeem would take his reputation as one of the NBA's best role models into his retirement.

1996 Olympic Champions Men's Basketball
Charles Barkley | Anfernee Hardaway | Grant Hill | Karl Malone | Reggie Miller | Hakeem Olajuwon | Shaquille O'Neal | Gary Payton | Scottie Pippen | Mitch Richmond | David Robinson | John Stockton
Coach Lenny Wilkens

Preceded by:
James Worthy
NCAA Tournament
Most Outstanding Player (men)
Succeeded by:
Patrick Ewing

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Hakeem Olajuwon