Widely regarded as one of the five greatest centers to ever play the game of basketball, Hakeem Olajuwon is easily one of the most recognizable and influential players in history. His basketball story, however, begins in Nigeria. And it also doesn’t begin with basketball… it begins with soccer. Growing up, Olajuwon played goalie, and he still credits that experience with helping him learn to balance his size. It also helped him learn to block shots, something he would do often in the NBA.
At the age of 15, Olajuwon had his first experience with basketball, and he loved the game. After a recommendation from a scout, Olajuwon was invited to visit the University of Houston. And while Olajuwon was accepted on the team, he was not immediately given playing time. In fact, Olajuwon was red shirted his freshman year, and in his first year of playing, he only received limited minutes. However, Olajuwon spent the next summer practicing with Houston legend Moses Malone, and he returned to the Cougars the next season as a dominant force. Teaming with Clyde Drexler, Olajuwon helped lead the Cougars to consecutive national title games, and he remains the last player on the losing side of the National Championship to receive the MVP.
The first Hakeem Olajuwon appearance in the NBA came with the Houston Rockets. There he teamed with Ralph Sampson to form the “Twin Towers,” one of the most imposing low post presences in NBA history. Sampson and Olajuwon led the Rockets to the 1986 NBA Finals, but they couldn’t overcome the Celtics. However, almost a decade later, Olajuwon would lead the Rockets to back-to-back NBA Championships in 1994 and 1995.
**Hakeem Olajuwon Speaker**
If you’d like to get an idea of the many different Hakeem Olajuwon speaker topics, you can take a look at his autobiography, Living the Dream.
**Hakeem Olajuwon Appearance**
The final Hakeem Olajuwon appearance in the NBA actually took place for the Toronto Raptors. Even though he spent 20 consecutive years paying basketball in Houston (if you include college), he was traded, in his final season, to the Raptors. However, his jersey was retired shortly after by his hometown Rockets.
**Hakeem Olajuwon Endorsement**
There was a Hakeem Olajuwon endorsement for a sneaker made by Spalding which retailed for $35. He’s one of the few professional players in any sport not to endorse a sneaker from Nike, Reebok, Adidas, or one of the other high-end brands. When asked why, he explained that poor working mothers couldn’t afford to pay for $120 shoes, so why try to hurt them?
For more information about booking athletes and celebrities with the help of TSE Speakers, please fill our our detailed contact form or call us at (866) 520-7081 to speak with a dedicated TSE representative.