Hakeem Olajuwon dominated the Dallas Mavericks for 24 points and nine rebounds in his NBA debut with the Houston Rockets on Oct. 27, 1984.
Expectations were sky-high for Olajuwon after he entered the league as the No. 1 Draft pick out of the University of Houston. Olajuwon not only met those expectations during his career, he surpassed them to quickly become one of the best players in the NBA.
Olajuwon joined forces with reigning Rookie of the Year Ralph Sampson in Houston to form a dynamic front-court that helped the Rockets reach the playoffs for the first time since 1981. During his rookie season, Olajuwon averaged 20.6 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.7 blocks in 35.5 minutes over 82 games. He was named the 1985 Rookie of the Year, earned his first of 12 All-Star selections, and selected to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team.
Olajuwon, which translates into "always being on top," was one of the best players in the NBA during his remarkable 18-year career. He retired in 2002 with career averages of 21.8 points, 11.1 rebounds, 3.1 blocks and 1.7 steals. He was a two-time NBA champion with Houston, two-time NBA Finals MVP, 1994 NBA MVP, 12-time All-Star, two-time Defensive Player of the Year, and six-time All-NBA First Team member. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 2008.
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