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Hakeem Abdul Olajuwon was born January 21, 1963 in Lagos, Nigeria. Olajuwon is a former, now retired, American professional basketball player. The eventual basketball super star didn’t begin playing basketball until the age of 15, when he was a student at the Muslim Teachers College in Lagos. However, he did grow up playing many sports including soccer and handball where he developed his superb coordination and skills that would eventually translate to the hardwood. Olajuwon moved to the United States to play basketball at the University of Houston under Coach Guy Lewis. While at Houston, Olajuwon led the Cougars to three Final Four appearances. During his final season, he led the NCAA in rebounds per game, blocked shots per game, as well as boasting the highest field goal percentage at 67.5 percent.
After a stellar college campaign, Olajuwon was selected by the Houston Rockets with the number one pick in the 1984 NBA Draft. The 1984 draft is considered to be one of the most talented drafts of all time. Along with Olajuwon, it included Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, and John Stockton. Shortly after arriving in to the Rockets, Hakeem was nicknamed “Akeem the Dream” for his fluid grace both on and off the court. At 7 feet tall, he along with Ralph Sampson were nick named the “Twin Towers,” a name that may not be considered politically correct today, nonetheless, they were an imposing duo on the floor together. After securing his US citizenship, Olajuwon was eligible to compete on the US Men’s Olympic Basketball Team in 1996, where they competed and won a gold medal. Shortly after this, celebrating the leagues 50 year anniversary, Olajuwon was named as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.