What was improbable on the day he stepped off the plane from Nigeria and inevitable by the time his glorious 18-year NBA career ended, became official when Hakeem Olajuwon was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame on Monday.
"For many years, you've been a future Hall of Famer," said the former Rockets and University of Houston star. "You hear that. It's an honorable title. But now, for the Hall of the Fame to call you, it's like, 'Wow! Is that really true?'
"All of these legends, great players who have played in the past and you have been selected to be among them. I think that is the highest honor that any player can receive."
Olajuwon is joined in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame's class of 2008 by former players Adrian Dantley and Patrick Ewing, coaches Pat Riley and Cathy Rush and contributors Dick Vitale and Bill Davidson. The enshrinement ceremony will take place Sept. 5 in Springfield, Mass.