Hakeem Olajuwon

Hakeem Abdul Olajuwon was born on January 21, 1963 in Lagos, Nigeria. He is a Nigerian-American retired professional basketball player and is considered to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time.

He was nicknamed “The Dream” during his basketball career after he dunked so effortlessly that his college coach said it “looked like a dream.” From 1984 to 2002, he played as a Centre in the NBA for the Houston Rockets and the Toronto Raptors.

He led the Rockets to back-to-back NBA 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.

At age 17 he travelled from his home country to play for the University of Houston under head coach Guy Lewis. His college career for the Cougars included three trips to the Final Four. Hakeem was drafted by the Houston Rockets as the first overall pick of the 1984 NBA Draft, a draft that included Michael ‘Air’ Jordan, Charles Barkley, and John Stockton. He combined with the 7 feet 4 inches tall (224 cm) Ralph Sampson to form a duo dubbed the “Twin Towers”. The two led the Rockets to the 1986 NBA Finals, where they lost in six games to the Boston Celtics. After Ralph Sampson was traded to the Warriors in 1988, Hakeem became the Rockets’ undisputed leader. He led the league in rebounding twice (1989, 1990) and blocks three times (1990, 1991, 1993).

In 1993–94, he became the only player in NBA history to win the NBA MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, and Finals MVP awards in the same season. His Rockets won back-to-back championships against the New York Nicks (avenging his college championship loss to Patrick Ewing), and Shaquille O’Neal’s Orlando Magic. In 1996, Hakeem was a member of the Olympic gold medal-winning United States national team and was selected as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history. He ended his career as the league’s all-time leader in blocks (3,830) and is one of four NBA players to record a quadruple-double.

I am proud to be a member and partner of City of Birmingham Rockets Basketball Club, I went to watch a development session on a Saturday morning, and I could see there must have been a tremendous amount of groundwork to achieve what I could see. I love the diversity of the club, and the basketball and sports language that brings people together. You can see the real community spirit. That is why my children are part of the club and I am a Director”

Hakeem Olajuwon