Dream becomes legend
From 1982-84, Hakeem Olajuwon was a Cougar. From 1984-2001, he was a Rocket. On Friday, he became a Hall of Famer.
The former center was one of seven of the Class of 2008 inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.
The other inductees were Pat Riley, Patrick Ewing, Adrian Dantley, William Davidson, Cathy Rush and Dick Vitale, the former NBA coach turned ESPN broadcaster who dubbed Olajuwon "The Dream."
Olajuwon led the Rockets to two consecutive NBA Championships from 1994-95. The second time he did it, he became the only player in NBA history to be named league MVP, Defensive Player of the Year and NBA Finals MVP in one year.
He played in the league for 18 years, spending seventeen of those in Houston. He played 1,238 games in his career and averaged 21.8 points. He led the league in blocked shots three times and still holds the NBA record in career-blocked shots with 3,830.
Besides being a one-man defensive machine, the seven-foot center was also quick on his feet. His agile spinning and faking in the paint became known as "The Dream Shake." He was also a 12-time All-Star and helped the U.S. national men’s basketball team win the gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
At UH, Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler, a teammate of Olajuwon’s in both in college and the NBA, led the Cougars to two consecutive NCAA title games. Although they lost to North Carolina State in 1983 and Georgetown in 1984, Olajuwon still earned All-American honors and was the first overall pick in the 1984 NBA draft.
"Growing up in Nigeria, I didn’t really understand the magnitude of what it means to be a Hall of Famer," Olajuwon told Rockets.com. "Coming from Nigeria, my first Final Four was very difficult to digest what it meant. It’s the same with being a Hall of Famer. It’s a great honor."