Games & medals
Hakeem OLAJUWON biography
Hakeem Olajuwon was born in Nigeria but came to the United States to play basketball at the University of Houston. He led the Cougars to three Final Fours and two appearances in the NCAA Championship Game, but they never won the title. In 1983, despite losing to NC State in the final game, Olajuwon was chosen as MVP of the Final Four. In college he was known as Akeem Olajuwon.
Olajuwon left college after his junior year and was selected as the first overall pick of the 1984 draft by the Houston Rockets. He would go on to play for 17 years with the Rockets, before ending his career with a single season with the Toronto Raptors. Olajuwon led the Rockets to NBA titles in 1994 and 1995, and was selected the Finals MVP both years. He was also the league MVP in 1994. He played in the NBA All-Star Game 12 times (1985-90, 1992-97) and was named first team All-NBA six times (1987-89, 1993-94, 1997).
As an imposing center (#5), Olajuwon was twice named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year (1993-94) and five times was named to the All-NBA Defensive Team (1987-88, 1990, 1993-94). He also led the NBA in rebounding twice (1989-90) and in blocks three times (1990-91, 1993). Unusually for a center, he was known for his ability to steal the ball. Olajuwon had his jersey number retired by both the University of Houston and the Houston Rockets.
Olajuwon became a naturalized US citizen in April 1993, which allowed him to play for the United States at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, helping the team to a gold medal. He was elected a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (2008) and the FIBA Hall of Fame (2016). After his retirement he started his own Big Man Camps, coaching and teaching many college and NBA players in the nuances of post play as a big man.