Hakeem Olajuwon was born in Lagos, Nigeria, in 1963 to Yoruba parents Abike and Salim, who ran a cement company. Olajuwon used to be a soccer goalkeeper when he was little.
He began playing basketball later while attending the Muslim Teachers College when he entered a local tournament. Following that, Olajuwon moved to the United States to play basketball for the University of Houston Cougars.
He became the Cougars’ sixth man after redshirting his initial year. Due to his effortless dunking, he gained the moniker “The Dream” during this period.
Olajuwon guided the Cougars to win consecutive NCAA championship games in both his sophomore and junior years. Despite the fact that the team lost on both occasions, Olajuwon was named NCAA Tournament Player of the Year in 1983.
Hakeem Olajuwon’s Career in Houston Rockets!
The Houston Rockets selected Olajuwon first overall in the 1984 NBA draught. His first season was an immediate success, as he helped the Rockets substantially improve their win-loss record.
In the Rookie of the Year voting, he came in second place to Michael Jordan. The following year, Olajuwon assisted the Rockets in reaching the Western Conference Finals, which they won.
The club then advanced to the NBA Finals, where they were defeated by the Boston Celtics in six games.
Olajuwon was the unquestioned leader of the Rockets during the 1988-89 season, leading the league in rebounds with 13.5 per game.
Despite the Rockets’ failure the next season, Olajuwon continued his professional success, topping the league in rebounds and blocks. He also had a quadruple double, making him only the third player in NBA history to do it.
Olajuwon improved his passing after a poor 1991-92 season, setting a new career-high of 3.5 assists per game in 1992-93. The Rockets also set a new franchise record with 55 wins that season. Meanwhile, Olajuwon finished second in the MVP contest to Charles Barkley.
Olajuwon gained a reputation as one of the best centres in NBA history thanks to his outstanding performances in the 1993-94 and 1994-95 seasons.
He guided the Rockets to the NBA Finals in 1994, defeating the New York Knicks in seven games to give Houston its first professional sports title in over 30 years.
Olajuwon has been voted the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player with a 26.9 point per game average, making him the first foreign-born player to win the title.
In addition, in 1994, he became the first player in NBA history to win the MVP, the Championship, the Finals MVP, and the Defensive Player of the Year all in the same season.
In 1995, the Rockets won the NBA championship for the second time, sweeping the Orlando Magic.
During the season, Olajuwon averaged 27.8 points and 10.8 rebounds, with 39 points and 17 rebounds in the series-clinching game. He was selected Finals MVP once more, and he became the Rockets’ only All-Star.
The Olympic Games of 1996!
Hakeem Olajuwon was a member of the 1996 US Olympic basketball team, called Dream Team II, at the height of his career.
Olajuwon and his fellow American players won the gold medal for the tournament, playing alongside five members of the original Dream Team, as well as Shaquille O’Neal.
The Rockets’ Final Years!
When the Rockets were ousted in the second round of the 1996 NBA Playoffs, Olajuwon’s run of success came to an end. However, with Charles Barkley on the team the following season, they went on to win 57 games.
Olajuwon’s scoring output improved during the 1998-99 season, allowing him to make his 12th and final All-NBA Team.
Hakeem Olajuwon’s Personal Life!
Olajuwon married Dalia Asafi in 1996. Aisha and Rahmah, as well as boys Abdullah and Abdul, are the couple’s four children. Olajuwon is also the father of Abisola, a daughter from a prior relationship.
Olajuwon started his Big Man Camps in 2006, where he teaches young players how to play in the frontcourt. He also works with other NBA players to help them improve their skills.
Olajuwon is fluent in Arabic, French, and the Nigerian languages of Ekiti and Yoruba, in addition to English. Olajuwon is a devout Muslim who has stated that he studies the Qur’an every day.
Hakeem Olajuwon’s Net Worth!
Hakeem Olajuwon has a $300 million net worth as a retired Nigerian-American professional basketball player.
Hakeem Olajuwon was a member of the Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors in the NBA, where he led the former to back-to-back NBA titles in the mid-90s.
In addition, he was a member of the 1996 Olympic gold-medal-winning US team. Olajuwon is the first non-American to be an All-Star and an NBA MVP. He is widely regarded as one of the best basketball players of all time.
Following his retirement, Hakeem started a tremendously successful entrepreneurial career. He has bought and sold real properties for more than $150 million in the last two decades.
Hakeem Olajuwon’s Investments in Real Estate!
Olajuwon had a lot of success in the Houston real estate market when he retired from the NBA.
According to a 2006 New York Times storey, Hakeem had purchased over $100 million in real estate up to that point. Hakeem specialises in purchasing properties that are primed for development, such as stadiums or railroad stations.
He acquires huge undeveloped land tracts along transportation lines and popular highway exits, for example. He purchased a 41-acre property near NASA’s Johnson Space Center in November 2006 and converted it into a retirement community.
Parking garages, apartment complexes, business buildings, and single-family houses are among his holdings.
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He bought the historic Federal Reserve Bank building in Houston and turned it into a mosque. He owns the former World Trade Center building in the city, which is next to Minute Maid Park.
Hakeem does not borrow money to fund his purchases because it is against Islamic law to pay or charge interest. As a result, when the real estate market softens, he may reduce his risk and exposure. Hakeem explained in that New York Times profile:
“I’ve been fortunate thus far to be able to work with my own funds, which allows me to choose when I want to sell rather than having a bank loan hanging over my head, which can drive you to sell even if you’re not ready.”
He’s also beaten out competitors who rely on bank clearances for important purchases because he’s an all-cash buyer.
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