NEW YORK (Ticker) -- It appears back problems will force 12-time All-Star center Hakeem Olajuwon to call it quits.
The New York Post is reporting that Olajuwon, who led the Houston Rockets to back-to-back NBA titles but struggled last season with the Toronto Raptors, plans to officially announce his retirement when the Raptors meet Houston in their home opener on Nov. 2.
The 39-year-old Olajuwon continues to be bothered by a lower back injury and the Raptors excused him from training camp. Olajuwon missed 21 games with a right quadriceps strain and an infected toe last season -- his first with the Raptors after a brilliant 17-year career with the Rockets. He averaged 7.1 points and 6.0 rebounds in 22.6 minutes for Toronto.
The Raptors acquired Olajuwon from Houston in August 2001 for draft picks and signed him to a three-year, $17 million deal.
One of the NBA's 50 greatest players and the league's all-time leader in blocked shots, Olajuwon led the Rockets to back-to-back titles in 1994 and '95.
But his production has seriously diminished the past five seasons.
The 7-foot Nigerian played only 58 games in 2000-01 and averaged 11.0 points and 7.4 rebounds for the Rockets before being shipped to Toronto.
In 17 seasons with the Rockets, Olajuwon averaged 22.5 points and 11.4 rebounds per game while amassing an NBA-record 3,740 blocks.
In 1994, Olajuwon became the only player to win MVP, defensive player of the year and NBA Finals MVP honors in the same season.
Keep in mind I'm speaking as someone who likes and respects Olajuwon. Having said that... thank God he's retiring. I'm afraid he should have retired four or five years or so, as he's been largely irrelevant since 1998-99 (in which he averaged 18.9 PPG). Hakeem will go down as one of the best players of all-time, and he deserved to go out in a blaze of glory, instead of just fading away.
But I'll always cherish the memories I have of Hakeem making the New York and Orlando defenses look like Swiss cheese in the '94 and '95 NBA Finals.
“I've been waiting long for one of us to say, ‘Save the darkness, and let it never fade away.’” --a-ha, “The Living Daylights”, theme from The Living Daylights
Two-Time, Two-Time Randomly Selected Weiner of the Day, 5/27/02 and 7/3/02
From the desk of Swordsman Yen I like Hakeem as well (save for him torching my beloved Spurs in the 1995 playoffs). It's a shame he didn't end his career as a Rocket, but he has plenty of great moments for us to remember. He's one of the most versatile center of all time. Shaq would be the first to attest to that.
Cowboys 2-3-0. Ummm..well...at least they're in the NFC East.
As a Rap fan all I can say is what an absolute bust. I'm really not an Basketball expert but I found it so insane all the Basketball smarks/media in the city were all gushing about Hakeem coming over and how much of a difference maker. And I was thinking "what year are we in? 1995". The guy is pushing 40 and hasn't had a good season in a handful of years. He was totally the Nash (Kevin not Steve) of the Raptors last season. Old, injured, and paid a lot of money.
Last year shouldn't overshadow his entire career. He really was one of best centers I've ever seen.
Without a doubt, Olajuwon's performance in the 1995 NBA Playoffs is the greatest I have ever seen in sports.
People forget that the Rockets were the Sixth Seed in the West that year -- they won just 47 games. Nevertheless...
The Rockets won Game Five in Utah despite being down nine points in the Fourth Quarter. Then, the Rockets beat the Suns despite being down 3-1. Finally, Olajuwon cruised past David Robinson and Shaquille O'Neal in the Conference and NBA Finals.
damn all the love for Hakeem!!!! I had the pleasure of watching this guy play every night from 93 till 99. People here in houston still talk of what Dream pulled off in 95. Honestly, if he had played in LA or New York, you'd all be calling him the greatest center ever.
Thinking about how Hakeem schooled Shaq in 95 makes me realize how bad the center position is in the NBA.
Shaq may have been right when he called himself LCL or Last Center Left.
These commercials are superfine because they pay for the production costs of putting CHRIS MOTHERFUCKING BENOIT on my GODDAMN TV SCREEN! I will GO GREYHOUND! I am thinking OUTSIDE THE BUN! – Dean Rasmussen 8/1/2002 Smackdown Workrate Report
You don't think we (will have) overpaid? But whatever the cap hit, I do think you're right. Even if he's just a 15-20 minute player, I won't mind if most of those minutes are in the 4th quarter where we always seem to have trouble holding a lead.