Fans Responses To Hakeem Trade

How do you feel about Hakeem Olajuwon leaving the only basketball city he's ever known? With Wednesday's announcement that Olajuwon has broken off negotiations with the Rockets and is requesting a trade, we would like to know what you think about his decision. Just click on the "Fan Mail" link on our home page to send us your thoughts. The following is a small sample of the responses we have received.

Sad Day
I haven't felt sadness like this since the Oilers left Houston.
Jeff Crenshaw - Houston, TX

Show me the money
It's a really a shame that Hakeem is not staying a Rocket. I never thought I would see the day he wasn't a Rocket. I remember his days from U of H and he is part of the history and fabric of Houston. The Rocket organization has always been class, and I am surprised that Hakeem would want to leave at this point. He isn't the player he once was and could be an excellent influence on the younger players. It must be a purely money issue, since this will be his final contract. I would think that he has made enough money at this point and could give the Rockets a little bit of a "home town" deal. I also think part of it is that the offense doesn't run through Hakeem anymore, and he doesn't feel as significant to the team as he once did. It would be easier on his ego to go to another team and not be the number one option. I live in the Silicon Valley area, and used to attend many Rocket games (as well as their playoff finals games) back in the late '70s and '80s when I lived there for over 10 years, five minutes from the Summit. Still a huge Rocket fan - hope to see them again when I visit this year.
Harry Rothenberg - Burlingame, CA

Good luck Hakeem
With great sadness did I read the news about Hakeem's intended move to the Raptors. I will always remember when I moved to Houston to accept my overseas assignment over there, it was in June 1994 and the Rockets played the Finals against the Knicks and won their first NBA title. It was just amazing to watch the city erupt in joy and pride. Hakeem was one of the driving forces behind the success of the Rockets at that time and one of the most dangerous players in the NBA. He was always good for a double-double per game. I wish him all the best for the future.
Sven Dyrssen - Hamburg, Germany

Let him go
Don't trade Olajuwon - let him just sign outright with the Raptors. Dont let him make a penny more!
Jeremy Rice

Hakeem should have stayed
What can you say? I think there's a gap between this current skill level and what he interprets it to be. No matter who he signs with, he won't play 40 minutes of many games and won't hold up over an 82-game schedule. I think the Rockets made a reasonable offer in the grand scheme of things. I feel the Rockets are his best chance to get back to the playoffs and play a maximum number of roles and affect those around him. His best chance to go down in history as one of the most magnanimous players and persons ever is being chunked for a few million dollars a year. But hey, the price you pay for glory. The Rockets WILL move on and play competitive basketball this season and probably develop faster in his absence. Just sad to see it played out his way. He could have had it all.
Russell Scott

Underestimated the heart of a champion
A few years ago I made the mistake of finding Rudy T's "philosophy" to be both heartfelt and accurate. "Never underestimate the heart of a champion." And so I have not. Through good seasons and bad, the Rockets have always been champions, either in games won or in spirit. And so I have not underestimated your hearts. Not just the hearts of the players, but those of the entire organization that contributes to the building of that spirit.

Today I was GROSSLY disappointed. Hakeem Olajuwon has brought this team championships, personality, notoriety, an MVP trophy, and a spot in history due to his numerous record setting performances. And his reward? In his waning years, this franchise player is to be traded. And for what? I'm not sure. Apparently what we are to receive in return was not even worth ESPN's mention. Hakeem is a piece of Houston and it is simply unforgivable that he be allowed to finish his career elsewhere. What has happened to loyalty?

I know some argue that he is no longer worth the investment. But a decade ago or so the same argument was made to justify the Astros not resigning Nolan Ryan. What a poor decision that was, as Nolan Ryan went on to finish his career with the Texas Rangers by continuing to set records and even to throw additional "no-hiiters." And who was his replacement? I don't recall - he never did much for the Astros and was quickly released. Great management decision!

Certainly it would be ideal for all aging athletes to demonstrate the wisdom of former Dallas Cowboy Bill Bates, who took paycuts as he aged in order to stay with the team. But then again, Bill Bates was no MVP, no franchise player, and it wasn't his jerseys that young children clamored to purchase. He wasn't the identity of the Cowboys. Hakeem is all of these things and more.

Perhaps all will be well for all concerned, but I fear the Rockets organization will pay for this lack of loyalty being shown to the team's icon for most of the last two decades. Those of us who did not "underestimate the heart of a champion," who held the Rockets organization to a higher standard, will be very, very sorry to see a legend retire in another team's jersey. And we will often think of McMullan's similarly greed-inspired mistake with Nolan Ryan.
Sadly,
Jennifer Jowers

Time for the Rockets to move on
I am not surprised at Hakeem's trade to Toronto. Even though I admired Hakeem and his contribution to Houston, I think, he was too greedy for money. If he was really loyal to Houston, at 38 years and the possibility of a big question on his health and performance, he should have stayed here. I always felt he was a money minded man. He should have learned from Charles Barkley, Michael Jordan and Clyde Drexler how to retire gracefully. For me , it is time now for the Rockets to move on and build on younger players instead of older players like Hakeem. Good riddance and good luck to the Rockets.
Ken Menen