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Thursday, September 21, 2023


The Dream gets Hall of Fame finalist recognition

After a career spent bringing Houston basketball into the limelight both at the collegiate and professional level, center Hakeem Olajuwon was named a finalist for induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday.

Olajuwon, the two-time NBA champion and finals MVP, was the focal point of the Houston Rockets’ brief interruption of the Jordan era, creating "Clutch City" and bringing Houston a professional championship in a major sport for the first time since the Houston Oilers won two in the AFL in ’60 and ’61.

It’s a long-overdue honor for one of the greatest players of all time, something that has only been held back by eligibility requirements. Olajuwon was named one of the NBA’s 50 greatest players, finished with a career scoring average of 21.8 points per game and was one of the truly clutch players in NBA history, boosting that score to 25.9 points per game in the playoffs. He also is the NBA’s all-time leader in career blocked-shots, with 3,830.

Prior to his NBA career, Olajuwon was a dominant force for the Houston Cougars, teaming with guard Clyde "The Glide" Drexler to lead the squad to the 1983 and 1984 NCAA championship games where they stumbled to North Carolina State and Georgetown, respectively. Phi Slamma Jamma, as the 1982-84 teams were dubbed, is an indisputably huge part of NCAA basketball history. Olajuwon was a consensus All-American in his junior year, leading the NCAA in field-goal percentage, and left the Cougars early to become the first overall pick in the NBA draft.

If there is one man who has changed the course of basketball history for a city, other than possibly Michael Jordan, Olajuwon is it. He is Houston basketball, both college and professional, and his legacy to the city is one of great importance. His nomination to the Basketball Hall of Fame is but a brief interlude before his shoe-in induction is announced.

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