Hakeem Olajuwon ( born January 21, 1963 in Lagos, Nigeria as Akeem Abdul Olajuwon ) is a retired American professional basketball player. In the 1990s, the 2.13 m wide center won two NBA championships with the Houston Rockets, as well as an award for Most Valuable Player. Since he was exceptionally agile despite his size, he got the nickname Hakeem The Dream.
Olajuwon grew up in Nigeria in poverty. He played a young age much hockey, handball and football, but decided at the age of 15 years for basketball, as he had already reached two meters in height. During adolescence, he took over as goalkeeper at Dallas Cup, an international youth football tournament in Dallas (Texas), part. Olajuwons talent quickly became apparent, and two years later he won his school, the Muslim Teachers College, the national championship in Nigeria. On the recommendation of his coach Olajuwon was planning a move to the U.S. to play there at a university. Then Olajuwon contacted the coach of the University of Houston, Guy Lewis, who then offered him a sports scholarship.
In Houston, Olajuwon formed with guard Clyde Drexler, a strong duo. Due to their fast style of play, which addressed basket spectacular successes in basket close, especially dunks, they became known as Phi Slamma Jamma. After they were in 1982 in the semifinals to eventual champion, the UNC Tar Heels with James Worthy and Michael Jordan, resigned, they reached the following year the finals, where she competed as overwhelming favorites against the surprise team Wolfpack of North Carolina State University coach Jim Valvano. They lost the title in a legendary game in the final seconds against due to their scarce victories Cardiac Pack designated team just by a game-winning dunk by Lorenzo Charles. Drexler then declared his move to the NBA and also Olajuwon debated whether he should follow him. At the end he opted for another year at the university. During the summer break Olajuwon played many times in public gyms against players of the local professional team, the Houston Rockets. In particular, with the center Moses Malone coached Olajuwon a large part of the summer 1983.
In the college season 1983/84 the Houston Cougars reached, although weakened by the departure of Drexler, again the NCAA finals. Opponents were the Georgetown Hoyas with their center Patrick Ewing. While Olajuwon and Ewing neutralized in the game, Ewing took over the command and teammates won the game. After this second defeat Olajuwon said his move to the NBA. In NBA Draft 1984, local Houston Rockets were allowed to choose as the first and opted for Olajuwon. Other players of this Drafts have included Michael Jordan (# 3 ), Charles Barkley (# 5 ) and John Stockton (# 16), which he is expected to be the strongest of all time.
With the 2.21 -meter Ralph Sampson Olajuwon formed a duo Center, which was named in the NBA the Twin Towers. In the 1985/86 season they defeated the reigning NBA champions, the Los Angeles Lakers with Magic Johnson, in the playoffs. In the finals were subject to the Rockets the Boston Celtics, who had a good frontcourt with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish, in six games.
In the 1986/87 season the Rockets were regarded as one of the title candidates, but were weakened by the injury problems of Ralph Sampson. In the playoffs, the team was defeated in the second round, the Seattle SuperSonics after the sixth game in which Olajuwon had played with 49 points and 25 rebounds the hitherto best game of his career.
Ralph Sampson was soon sold and Olajuwon remained. In the playoffs, the 1987/88 season the Rockets were subject in the first round with 1:3 games, although Hakeem Olajuwon posted 37.5 points and 16.8 rebounds per game. In subsequent years, the Rockets did not get beyond the first playoff round, despite Olajuwons convincing performance. In the 1988/89 season he scored the first player to 200 blocks and 200 steals in a season. March 20, 1990 him a so-called " quadruple- double", ie double-digit levels achieved in four categories, as he scored 18 points against the Milwaukee Bucks, 16 rebounds, 11 blocks and 10 assists.
In the 1991/92 season the Rockets since 1984, missed the playoff for the first time participation. At the same time ended Olajuwons contract, and there were tensions with Rockets owner Les Alexander team. Transfer rumors flying about, but Olajuwon and Alexander found after a clarifying conversation back together - Olajuwon extended with the Rockets. His stats rose during the following season in almost every category, the Rockets increased from 42 (1992 ) to 55 wins ( 1993). In the election for MVP Olajuwon Charles Barkley defeated, and defeated the team in the playoffs in Game Seven of the Western Conference semi-final of the Seattle SuperSonics for Gary Payton.
Olajuwons output rose in 1993/94 again, he was elected MVP and the best defender of the season. The Rockets defeated in the first playoff round, the Portland Trail Blazers with Olajuwons college teammate Clyde Drexler. In the Western Conference semi-final they were brought from the previous year's finalists, the Phoenix Suns of Charles Barkley to the brink of defeat after losing the first two home games. Houston fought back and reached after winning a " Game Seven " the Conference Finals. There, the Utah Jazz were defeated in five games and the team moved into the NBA Finals.
Since Olajuwons last Final Participation 1986 the crew of the Rockets had been completely rebuilt. Instead of Ralph Sampson, Rodney McCray and Robert Reid Mario Ellie, Kenny Smith, but also talents like Robert Horry and Sam Cassell were now playing at the Olajuwons page. So he was the only player who was from that '86er team left. Opponent in the final was the New York Knicks, in which Patrick Ewing played. The final series was balanced, and after the defeat of the Knicks in " Game Six " there was a final " game seven " in Houston, the Rockets finally won. Ten years after Olajuwon Ewing had been defeated in the NCAA Finals, Olajuwon had now seized the opportunity for revenge. For Houston, it was the first title in club history.
The following year, the Rockets were defending champions, but played below expectations. In the mid- season Clyde Drexler was taken from Portland to Houston. As a sixth pulled the Rockets into the playoffs and defeated the Utah Jazz and the Phoenix Suns. In the Conference Finals, the team the San Antonio Spurs defeated 4-2. In the final, the Rockets met the Orlando Magic, who had beaten with their young players like Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway, the Chicago Bulls led by Michael Jordan. After a tight first game, lost the Magic, the Rockets were unstoppable. After three more victories they stood firm as NBA champions. Famous were the words of the coach, Rudy Tomjanovich, after the game, " Do not ever underestimate the heart of a champion ", pronounced in allusion to the outsider role of the Rockets, who were actually yes titleholder.
The finals was not repeated in 1996, as the team lost in the Conference semi-final 0-4 against the Seattle SuperSonics. Olajuwon, now 33 years old began to break down. Although the Rockets reached in 1997 thanks to the commitment of Charles Barkley once again the Western Conference Finals, but then began a gradual decline. After two Erstrundenniederlagen 1998 and 1999 2000 the playoff were missed. In 2001, Olajuwon was passed on to the Toronto Raptors, where he finished his career after one season. Throughout his career, he came on to this day by any other player reached 3830 block. With 26946 points achieved Olajuwon is number nine of the NBA All- Time Statistic.
Achievements and Records
- NBA All-Time Leaders, block: location 1 ( 3830 )
- NBA All-Time Leaders: Rank 9 ( 26,946 )
- NBA All-Time Leaders Steals: Place 8 ( 2162 )
- NBA All-Time Leaders Rebounds: 11th place ( 13,748 )
- NBA Most Valuable Player: 1994
- NBA Most Valuable Defender: 1993, 1994
- NBA All Stars games: 1985-90, 1992-97 (of which 8 times starting player )
- All- NBA First Team: 1987-89, 1993-94, 1997
- NBA All- Rookie Team: 1985
Olajuwon is deeply devout Muslim who to respect the commandments of Ramadan and during the NBA season. On April 9, 1991, he changed his first name Akeem to Hakeem to illustrate his conversion to Islam. Since April 1, 1993, he is a U.S. citizen and took for the U.S. at the 1996 Olympics in part. Olajuwon was elected in 1996 as one of the 50 best players in NBA history and incorporated into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.