Friday, August 2, 2013

Rockets Trade Olajuwon

On August 2, 2001, following in the footsteps of New York Knicks, who had recently traded Patrick Ewing to Seattle, the Houston Rockets trade an aging Hakeem Olajuwon, their best player in franchise history, to the Toronto Raptors for a pair of draft picks. 

Olajuwon was one of the 50 greatest players in history and had spent the previous 17-years in Houston. 

But upon making it clear that the Raptors were offering him more money, the Rockets moved him in a sign-and-trade.

Many wondered if the alliance of Olajuwon and Vince Carter would make the Raptors, who came within a jump shot of beating the Eastern Conference champion 76ers, a legitimate contender. 

But those who felt this way overestimated Olajuwon, who had been trailing off in his later years in Houston. 

With the Raptors, on a new team, in a different country, Hakeem's performance faltered. In 61 games, Olajuwon shot only 46.4 percent from the floor while averaging just 7.1 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, which were all career lows.

The Raptors lost to the Detroit Pistons in the first round that year. 

Before the start of the next season, the 39 year-old Olajuwon called it quits after suffering a back injury, ending one of the best careers in NBA history. 

Olajuwon was so irrelevant in Toronto that many people may be surprised to learn he even played there.

Olajuwon finished his career as a two-time NBA Champion in 1994 and 1995, and was the NBA MVP in 1994, and the NBA Finals MVP in 1994 and 1995.
Olajuwon was also a 12-time NBA All-Star including six-consecutive appearances twice, once form 1985-1990 and from 1992-1997. He was a six-time All-NBA First Team member, including three consecutive appearances from 1987-1989. He was a three-time All-NBA Second Team member, and a three-time All-NBA Third Team member.
Olajuwon was a five-time All-Defensive First Team member including back-to-back nominations in 1987-1988 and 1993-1994. He was a four time All-Defensive Second Team member, including back-to-back nominations in 1996-1997.
Twice Olajuwon was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year, with back-to-back awards coming in 1993-1994.
Olajuwon was a three time NBA blocks leader including back-to-back awards in 1990-1991. He was a two-time NBA rebounding leader with back-to-back awards in 1989-1990.
He was named the Rookie of the Year in 1985, as well named to the NBA All-Rookie Team that same year.
Olajuwon was also selected to the NBA Fiftieth Anniversary All-Time Team in 1996.
Olajuwon's career numbers include  1,238 games played, with 1,186 starts. A total of 10,749 field goals, with a .512 field goal percentage. He made 5,423 free throws in his career with a .712 free throw percentage. He also made 25 three pointers in his career for a total of 26,946 points. He collected 4,034 offensive rebounds, and 9,714 defensive rebounds, for a total of 13,748 rebounds. He had 3,058 assists, 2,162 steals and 3,830 blocks.
Four times Olajuwon led the league in games played, playing all 82 games of the NBA schedule four times. He led the league in field goals attempted in the 1993-1994 season with 1,694.  That was also his highest single season total of field goals attempted.
Olajuwon led the league in defensive rebounds and total rebounds twice, the same years 1988-1989 and 1989-1990. With his highest single season total coming in 1989-1990, 850. He led the league in offensive rebounding once, his rookie year, 1984-1985, with 440 offensive rebounds. That was also his highest single season total for offensive rebounds.
Olajuwon led the league in blocks twice in 1989-1990 and 1992-1993 with 376, his highest single season total coming in 1989-1990.
Olajuwon ended his career as one the most prolific scoring centers to have played the game and was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 2008. 
Olajuwon's no. 34 jersey was also retired by the Rockets in 2008.