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Hakeem Encyclopedia C-D

Join rockets.com as we celebrate the career of one of the greatest centers the game has ever known, Hakeem Olajuwon, with this special Hakeem A-Z encyclopedia. Be sure to check back each week as we continue to bring you notes and exclusive photos from Olajuwon's illustrious career.


Cartwright, Bill - Chicago Bulls center from 1988-94. Fractured Hakeem's right orbit, the bone structure that houses the eye, with an inadvertent elbow on Jan. 3, 1991. Hakeem made his return to the Rockets lineup Feb. 28, 1991 wearing goggles. He actually tried to wear goggles in a game against Orlando earlier that year, but took them off in the first quarter because they were uncomfortable.

Charles, Lorenzo - North Carolina State forward who caught Derrick Whittenburg's wayward shot and dunked it at the buzzer to give the Wolfpack the 1983 NCAA championship over Hakeem's heavily-favored Houston Cougars.

Choke City - Three days after blowing an 18-point lead and losing Game 1 of the 1994 Western Conference Semifinals to the Phoenix Suns, the Rockets lost a 20-point fourth-quarter lead and Game 2. The next day the Houston Chronicle renamed Houston "Choke City." "We traveled directly to Phoenix after the game," Olajuwon said. "That was a terrible flight. It was silent on the plane, as if somebody had died. Nobody was prepared for what had happened."

Citizen - A 33-year-old Hakeem became a U.S. citizen April 2, 1993. "It's natural for me," Olajuwon said. "I've lived here 16 years and my home is in Houston. Half of my family is in the United States, half of my family is in Nigeria. I am still a Nigerian. You can't change that."

Clutch City - The Rockets said good-bye to their home-court advantage in the 1994 Western Conference Semifinals against the Phoenix Suns by losing two large leads in Games 1 and 2. Hakeem Olajuwon believed they lost something else; pressure. In a speech to his teammates prior to Game 3, Olajuwon pointed out the Rockets had nothing to lose. "The pressure is now on Phoenix, it is not on us anymore," he said. "They took that pressure away when they came in and won two games. Now everybody expects them to win, so if we go and put our effort into winning the first game here in Phoenix that puts all the pressure back on them." The Rockets went on to win the next two games on the Suns' home floor and eventually the series, as Olajuwon's 37 points and 17 rebounds led Houston to a 104-94 Game 7 win and a berth in the Western Conference Finals against Utah.


Dallas Mavericks - An NBA franchise since 1980. In the First Round of the 1988 NBA Playoffs, Olajuwon turned in one of the greatest playoff series in NBA history against the Mavericks. In four games, he averaged 37.5 points, the best scoring average for a playoff series in franchise history. He also teamed with Eric "Sleepy" Floyd to become the first set of teammates to score 40 or more points each in the same playoff game. Floyd scored 41 while Olajuwon dropped in 40 in a 119-108 Rockets win.

Daughters - Hakeem has three daughters; Absiola, Aisha and Rahmah.

Dawson, Carroll - The current executive vice president of basketball for the Rockets. The man Hakeem credits with teaching him the fundamentals that became the foundation of his success. Dawson, who was an assistant coach when Olajuwon was drafted by the Rockets, helped mold the young center's game by teaching him the jump hook and the turnaround jumper. Olajuwon still counts on Dawson to help fine-tune his game when needed.

Defensive Player of the Year - Hakeem was named the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year in 1993 and 1994.

Denver Nuggets - Team against that Hakeem set his all-time high in points on April 19, 1990. (52 points)

Domination - 1. To rule or control by superior power or authority. 2. Hakeem Olajuwon's performance against the reigning NBA MVP David Robinson and the San Antonio Spurs in the 1995 Western Conference Finals. Olajuwon averaged 35.3 points per game by using a combination of spins, fakes and Dream Shakes that left every basketball pundit, player and fan in amazement. In the series, which the Rockets won in six games, Olajuwon outscored Robinson 212-146, pouring in 40 or more points in three of the games.

"The Dream" - The nickname by which Hakeem has been known since he was in college, but no one is really sure how he got it. Legend has it he acquired the nickname "The Dream" from a coach at UH when during practice he dribbled the basketball from one end of the court to the other and dunked it with such ease that the coach remarked it "looked like a dream."

Dream Foundation - A foundation Hakeem initiated to improve educational opportunities for kids in Houston and across the United States. It was founded in 1995.

Dream Team III - Three years after becoming a citizen, Hakeem was named to the 1996 United States Olympic basketball team, which went on to win the gold medal at the b