Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon, a devout Muslim splitting his time between homes in Houston and outside London, England, on Saturday called the proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States “not worthy of a president.”
Olajuwon, who had returned to the United States on Wednesday, had heard of the proposal issued by Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump on Dec. 7 that would prevent Muslims from immigrating to the United States.
“First of all, it’s amazing to see how many people came out to disregard that kind of stand, even internationally,” said Olajuwon, a naturalized United States citizen. “That kind of statement is not worthy of a president. I don’t think it was too wise a statement. It is a complex question. It is something so complex and that just gave it a generic answer to a complex question.”
“I do not believe that we have come this far that that kind of statement would come out when discussing that kind of issue today,” Olajuwon said. “I think we passed that a long time ago.”
Olajuwon, one of the most beloved figures in Houston sports history and a Hall of Famer considered one of the NBA’s greatest players, immigrated to the United States from Nigeria in 1980 and became a United States citizen in 1993. He played for the 1996 United States Olympic team.
Olajuwon spoke often during his career about the importance of his faith to him and was open about his practices, from using a prayer room installed at the Rockets practice facility to following the dietary restrictions required during Ramadan. He has been a well-known participant in the large Houston Muslim community.
I’ll stand with Hakeem Olajuwon against Donald Trump any day of the week.