Feb. 15, 2008
HOUSTON - After record-setting careers at both the college and NBA levels, former University of Houston center Hakeem Olajuwon was named a finalist for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday.
Inductees will be announced April 7. Induction ceremonies will be held the weekend of Sept. 4-6.
He joined Patrick Ewing, Adrian Dantley, the late Dennis Johnson, Chris Mullin, Don Nelson, Pat Riley, Dick Vitale and contributors Victor Bubas and Bill Davidson.
The Veterans' Screening Committee nominated player Richie Guerin and contributor Johnny "Red" Kerr. The International Screening Committee tabbed Brazilian coach Togo Soares and player Maciel Ubiratan Pereira. Cathy Rush was nominated by the Women's Screening Committee.
A three-year letterwinner from 1981-84, Olajuwon was one of the most dominating players in UH history. He was named a consensus All-American in 1983-84 after helping lead the Cougars to a 32-5 overall record and its second straight NCAA Championship game appearance.
He was honored as the Most Valuable Player at the 1983 NCAA Final Four after recording a combined 41 points and 40 rebounds against Louisville and North Carolina State.
That season, he became only the second player in NCAA history to lead the nation in two statistical categories, finishing with a .675 field-goal percentage and 13.5 rebounds per game.
By the time that his career had finished, he had amassed 1,332 points and 1,067 rebounds, making him one the second player in school history to record at least 1,000 boards.
During his career, he led the Cougars to a combined 88-16 record with three appearances in the NCAA Final Four.
However, his college career was only the beginning. After being selected by the Houston Rockets with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1984 draft, Olajuwon began an 18-year professional career. He set an NBA record with 3,830 career blocked shots and finished as one of only eight players to record more than 20,000 points and 12,000 rebounds.
In 1994 and 1995, he led the Rockets to back-to-back NBA championships and was named the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player both seasons.
A 12-time All-Star, Olajuwon also was recognized as the NBA Most Valuable for his impressive performance throughout the 1993-94 season.