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Hakeem Encyclopedia P-S

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.


Phi Slama Jama - The dunking fraternity of the University of Houston in the early 1980s. A brotherhood with "Clyde the Glide" (Clyde Drexler), "Hakeem the Dream" (Hakeem Olajuwon), and "Mr. Mean" (Larry Micheaux). The name Phi Slama Jama came from then Houston Post columnist Thomas Bonk in January 1983.

Ping Pong - Another sport at which Hakeem excels. Early in his career he was able to beat most of his Rockets teammates with his left hand. At the 1996 Olympics, Hakeem was the champion of the table among the men's basketball team, beating Reggie Miller for the title.

The Pit - The place where the Cougars and Hakeem lost the 1983 NCAA Championship to the North Carolina State Wolfpack. Located on the campus of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Pond, Christopher - Pond coached Central Africa's team to a win over Hakeem's Nigerian junior national team. He liked the way the 17-year-old Hakeem had played against the men on his team and told him he should go to college in the United States. He arranged for Hakeem to get a visa and scheduled several visits to schools that might offer Hakeem a scholarship. Pond called his friend Guy V. Lewis of the University of Houston and got him to promise to give Hakeem a scholarship if everything Pond said about Hakeem's ability and size were true.

Pounds - Hakeem gained 60 pounds between the time he arrived in Houston in October 1980 and the spring of 1981 in order to beef up to play college basketball.


Quadruple-Double - Against the Milwaukee Bucks on March 29, 1990, Hakeem Olajuwon became the third player in NBA history to register a quadruple-double by finishing the night with 18 points, 16 rebounds, 11 blocked shots and 10 assists. "It's a very big accomplishment for me," said Olajuwon after his feat. "I believe I'm a complete player." At halftime he had already racked up 16 points, 10 rebounds, six blocks and four assists. A Lewis Lloyd jumper with 2:50 to play gave Olajuwon his 10th assist and put him in the record books.


Robinson, David - Member of the San Antonio Spurs; 1995 NBA MVP; dominated by Hakeem Olajuwon in the 1995 Western Conference Finals.

Rowe Park - The place where Hakeem competed in a Lagos club league. The park had a slanted, outdoor asphalt court.


San Antonio Spurs - Lost to the underdog Rockets in six games in the 1995 Western Conference Finals.

Sampson, Ralph - Former University of Virginia center, who was chosen with the No. 1 pick in the 1983 NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets. After the Rockets drafted Hakeem with the No. 1 pick in 1984, the Sampson and Olajuwon pairing became known as the Twin Towers. He and Hakeem led the Rockets to the 1986 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics.

Seattle SuperSonics - The Sonics defeated the Rockets in the 1987 Western Conference Semifinals despite a Rockets playoff-record 47 points by Hakeem in a double-overtime loss in the deciding Game 6.

Siblings - Hakeem has an older half-brother Yemi Kaka and older sister Kudi. He has three younger brothers - Akins, Taju and Afis.

Starks, John - Had his last-second three-point attempt blocked by Hakeem, preserving Houston's victory over New York in Game 6 of the 1994 NBA Finals. "We were supposed to switch on the pick and roll," Olajuwon said. "That was our plan all along. I was happy that it was Patrick Ewing who came out to set the pick, because that let me stay close to the ball. Starks is so dangerous. I wanted to be near him. I wanted him to change his shot. I just wanted to get even one hand on the ball at the end." He did and the Rockets moved on to Game 7 where Starks then proceeded to misfire on all 11 of his three-point attempts, helping Houston land its first NBA title.

Steals - With a steal against Seattle on November 20, 1999, Hakeem became the first player in NBA history to accumulate both 2,000 blocked shots and 2,000 steals in a career.

Sugar Bowl tournament - After four collegiate games, Olajuwon showed a sample of things to come when he took over the Sugar Bowl tournament. Hakeem was named MVP after coming off the bench to score 20 points to help UH beat LSU and win the title.