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Old 02-18-06, 04:18 AM
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Article: "The Dream" is gone this weekend in Houston

"The Dream" is gone this weekend in Houston

By Percy Allen, Seattle Times NBA reporter

HOUSTON — Where's Hakeem Olajuwon?

The greatest player in the history of the Houston Rockets franchise is noticeably absent from All-Star weekend, when he should have been the grand marshal of a parade along Memorial Drive.

"That's surprising that he's not here," said basketball analyst Steve Kerr, who spent several years playing against Olajuwon. "You would think he'd be the unofficial host for the weekend."

Former Rocket Clyde Drexler began Friday reliving his glory days and will loft jumpers alongside Houston Comet Sheryl Swoopes inside the Toyota Center tonight in a ballyhooed shooting competition that combines past and present NBA greats with WNBA stars.

There's been several sightings of Elvin Hayes, Moses Malone and Rudy Tomjanovich, who've recounted stories of Clutch City.

Even Calvin Murphy, who would be forgiven for keeping a low profile after being acquitted of sexual abuse charges alleged by his daughters, has made the radio talk-show rounds.

Olajuwon, however, is a half a world away. He lives in virtual solitude in Jordan. He studies Islam at a university and raises his family, friends say.

"Some guys don't have to stick around and do all of this," said Charles Barkley, another ambassador of Houston. "Some guys, when they're done, they're done. And you don't hear from them."

That's too bad, because I'd love to hear from Hakeem, nicknamed "The Dream," especially now when the NBA is in dire need of eloquent elder statesmen.

I'd love to ask him his opinion on the dearth of quality big men in today's game, which is apparent when Memphis' Pau Gasol was chosen as a reserve at center even though he's a 7-foot power forward.

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I'm curious what Olajuwon, a native of Lagos, Nigeria, thinks of the Africa-to-NBA pipeline that produced Dikembe Mutombo of Congo, Manute Bol of Sudan but dried up several years ago. Perhaps that's why he reached out to Charlotte's Emeka Okafor, a second-generation Nigerian, and tutored him on the finer points of low-post offense.

And I wonder if he was embarrassed when it was discovered that a Houston mosque that he founded contributed $80,000 to the Islamic African Relief Agency, now known as the Islamic American Relief Agency, and charities allegedly linked to terrorism. Reportedly, he denied any prior knowledge of the terrorist connections to his donations.

But more than anything, I'd just like to talk to Olajuwon and ask how he came up with the "Dream Shake," a dazzling display of low-post artistry, especially for a 7-foot, 255-pound center.

"You need to stand in line because I got a few questions for him too," said Drexler, who probably knows Olajuwon better than anybody. "Like how could he leave me here all alone this weekend."

Drexler was laughing when he said that, but there's some truth behind his banter. Their basketball careers started together at the University of Houston as founding members of Phi Slamma Jamma and they came within a desperation heave of winning the 1983 NCAA national title.

They reunited in 1994, when Drexler returned to his native Houston and helped the Rockets win the second of back-to-back championships.

By then, Olajuwon had already cemented his legacy as one of the greatest centers in NBA history. In 1993-94 he became the first player to be named NBA MVP, NBA Defensive Player of the Year and NBA Finals MVP in the same season.

Olajuwon finished 18 seasons with a career scoring average of 21.8 points and 51 percent shooting from the field and ranks seventh on the all-time scoring list.

"Everybody who either played with him or against him would put him right there with the best," Denver general manager Kiki Vandeweghe said. "He was relentless. Obviously, he was very strong and deceptively quick. It was that quickness that separated him from everyone else. You just couldn't keep up with him."

I wish Olajuwon were here today to tell us how he humbled San Antonio MVP David Robinson in the 1995 playoffs. (NO THANKS!! ) I wish he'd remind us of the lessons he gave Shaquille O'Neal in the NBA Finals when Houston swept Orlando.

"It was embarrassing," O'Neal said with a sly grin on Friday. "Why you going to bring that up?"

Because this should be Olajuwon's time to shine. We should be reliving his greatness and re-affirming his place alongside Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and O'Neal.

Sadly, his absence diminishes those memories, and we're left to wonder if it was all a dream.
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Old 02-18-06, 04:28 AM
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I also wish the "Dream" was in Houston this weekend, of all weekends.

This All Star weekend, is not only about the current players, but the great players of the past.

And this year in particular, the great players in the history of the Houston Rockets franchise.

He had more than one fraternity to represent and I just wished he would have thought enough to be there.

It seems incomplete without him.

Hakeem, we miss you.

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Old 02-18-06, 04:31 AM
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Despite being a lifelong Spurs fan and UT alumi, Hakeem's my all time favorite player.
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Old 02-18-06, 04:38 AM
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Why the Dream should attend a useless game where players dont play really, dont defend, and where plays Yao at starting center, only because chinese are a ******** billions?
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"We would have two less championships here if it wasn't for Manu Ginobili," Popovich said. "In my book, Manu Ginobili is the stud of the world".

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Old 02-18-06, 04:43 AM
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The same reason we would want David Robinson present the day San Antonio hosts All Star Weekend again.

For over 15 seasons, the Houston Rockets were synonamous with the name Hakkem Olajuwon.
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Old 02-18-06, 06:52 AM
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that's ok, but Houston ROCKETS...not Houston as a city that hosts Some-Star Game
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"We would have two less championships here if it wasn't for Manu Ginobili," Popovich said. "In my book, Manu Ginobili is the stud of the world".

FRENCH PRESS SUCKS
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Old 02-18-06, 07:33 AM
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I find it admirable that Hakeem haas other priorities in his life besides the marketing machine of the N.B.A.

Was he ever here at all? Or was it all just a nightmare in 1995?
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Old 02-18-06, 08:41 AM
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I took it for granted that he was there, I had no idea he had even left the country. I loved seeing Hakeem, followed since his college days when he was primarily a shot blocker and every year after that his game would improve and up until age got the best of him, this guy just got better and better. The original twin towers guy, him and Ralph Sampson. I can't believe the NBA and Rocket's organization didn't make an effort to get him to Houston, I suppose for personal reasons he must have thought it best not to come or he had other commitments.
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Old 02-18-06, 09:04 AM
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I think its Hakeem's personality to why he's not there.

He like TD in that regard, he doesnt like the spotlight and attention.
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Old 02-18-06, 10:30 AM
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Hakeem was a freak of nature, and it was a pleasure watching him for all those years
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Old 02-18-06, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alka-Seltzer
Olajuwon, however, is a half a world away. He lives in virtual solitude in Jordan. He studies Islam at a university and raises his family, friends say.
This reminds me of part of the song "If I Were A Rich Man", ironically enough, since it was written about a devout Jew.
"If I were rich, I'd have the time that I lack
To sit in the synagogue and pray,
And maybe have a seat by the Eastern wall,
And I'd discuss the learned books with the holy men
Seven hours every day--
That would be the sweetest thing of all..."
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Old 02-18-06, 11:19 AM
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Don't get to talk about Hakeem all the time here, but he is one of the greatest players ever at his position. He is missed.
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Old 02-18-06, 11:54 AM
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Loved Hakeem he was solely responsible for Shaq becoming Shaq Diesel. If he didn't give Shaq the business every time they played Shaq would have never gained al the weight and became Shaq Diesel.
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Old 02-18-06, 12:35 PM
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Wait a minute.... wasn't he here last year in San Antonio during the NBA Finals giving Tim tips????
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Old 02-18-06, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MomBear
Wait a minute.... wasn't he here last year in San Antonio during the NBA Finals giving Tim tips????
Yes, he spent several weeks (a month?) in the United States last year, taking care of his buisiness needs in Houston and Vancouver. He supposedly comes back to the US once or twice a year since he retired in 2002.

It just so happened that his US visit last year coincided with the NBA Finals.

I remember watching him being interviewed on a pre-game show and yes, he appeared very nervous. He seemed to have a different aura about him.

As one of the greatest players to have ever played the game, for my own selfish reasons I wish we could see more of him at events like this.

However, I respect and admire his decision to effectively put that part of his life behind him and continue to pursue the Muslim teaching.
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Old 02-18-06, 05:29 PM
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I lived in Houston for 18 years and grew up with the Rockets.I even had the honor of marching with the Foley's All Star band in the Rocket's victory parades.

That being said, the one thing I remember most about Hakeem was that during the celebration after the Rocket's won their first championship he was quoted somewhere as saying "Is this it? Is this all there is to life?".The fact that he has gone into virtual solitude to study his religion and faith speaks volumes about what should really be important to all of us.
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Old 02-18-06, 06:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichB
The same reason we would want David Robinson present the day San Antonio hosts All Star Weekend again.

For over 15 seasons, the Houston Rockets were synonamous with the name Hakkem Olajuwon.
And Foley's...


sorry...
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Old 02-18-06, 10:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SPURSFAN317
Hakeem was a freak of nature, and it was a pleasure watching him for all those years
He sure was
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Old 02-18-06, 10:13 PM
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BTW - anyone seen Calvin Murphy this weekend?

Rudy T, Big E, Moses,Clyde and Kenny Smith were judges at the Dunk contest - but I noticed one particular Rocket great that wasn't there.

And I'm not referring to Hakeem.
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Old 02-18-06, 10:18 PM
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I was wondering about Dream too, he should be there.
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