Friday, July 27, 2012

Hakeem Olajuwon

I think Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon is not only one of the greatest big men to ever play in the NBA, but one of the top 10 players of all time. He compiled some impressive stats over the course of his career. He is the #9 all time leading scorer, #11 all time rebounder, #1 all time shot blocker, and surprisingly #9 for all time steals which is unheard of for a big man.

Despite his solid play, I think he gets overlooked for how well rounded he was as a player. If you look at the top 20 all time NBA leaders for points, rebounds, blocks, assists, and steals, Hakeem and Kevin Garnett are the only two players to be listed in 4 of the 5 categories.

His inside moves and footwork were amazing and he often made defenders look foolish with a huge array of pivot moves in the post. His abusive "Dream shake" moves were to big men, what ankle breaking is to guards.

Olajuwon earned two championships for the Rockets while outplaying the likes of Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, and Shaquille O'Neal. He is the only player to earn the NBA MVP, defensive player of the year, and NBA finals MVP all in the same season (93-94).

Aside from his great play, I also like the guy because he was a good role model off the court. Despite one year when he was having contract disputes in Houston, I don't ever recall any negative press about the guy. He was a devout Muslim and I've read he would fast during Ramadan even if it conflicted with basketball games.

Hakeem could not only teach some of today's players a thing or two about post moves, foot work, and defense, but he could also teach them about class.

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