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Hakeem the Dream

Congratulations to Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon.

The memories, inspired by the occasion, had been flooding back for days.

Hakeem Olajuwon thought of his start in Nigeria, playing table tennis, soccer and team handball and discovering basketball. He pictured his dorm room at the University of Houston decorated with the images of basketball legends. He spoke of the nights at Compaq Center when the joys of the Rockets’ championships rained down around him.

He laughed easily, and smiled endlessly. When he received his Hall of Fame blazer, he found the faces of his girls, Rahma, 10, and Aisha, 9, in the audience, lowered himself to their eye level and giggled as he waved to them.

He could, however, not recall a time among all those memories, now vivid in thoughts, that he imagined the day he would be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

Then Friday, he joined that exclusive club. And he knew he belonged.

“When you write the story, it’s like a fairy tale,” Olajuwon said. “To actually realize it is unbelievable. To end your career and end up in the Hall of Fame, you actually achieve the highest level of accomplishment in basketball.

“It’s like a dream.”

Following the Rockets’ championship seasons of 1994 and 1995, and watching their victory parade downtown rank as some of my favorite sports memories. Watching him dominate then-MVP David Robinson along the way in ’95 was amazing. He’s a deserving Hall of Famer and a credit to the University of Houston, the Rockets franchise, and the city of Houston. Congratulations, Hakeem!

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