[clutchfans-archive] "Without him I probably never become a big Rocket fan."

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by tinman, Apr 26, 2010.

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Clutch,

  1. I've always known this

    99 vote(s)
    62.3%
  2. Now I know

    42 vote(s)
    26.4%
  3. I still don't understand, he wasn't a scoring champ

    18 vote(s)
    11.3%
  1. tinman

    tinman Contributing Member

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    http://clutchfans.net/feature.cfm?FeatureID=135

    Saying Goodbye to a Houston Legend
    THURSDAY, AUGUST 2, 2001 11:59 PM CT
    By Clutch
    Copyright 2001 ClutchFans.net
    It had been rumored for weeks, and was fairly obvious during a Toronto press conference Tuesday, but when it became official later in the afternoon that Houston's legendary center would no longer be a Rocket and was heading to Toronto, I was simply disappointed.

    Not because it hurts the Rockets, but because it really doesn't hurt the Rockets.

    A legend shouldn't go out that way.

    With their hand forced, the Rockets dealt the greatest player ever to don their uniform to the Canadian Dinos for throw-in draft picks. Not Hakeem Olajuwon. His tenure in Houston just doesn't end like that.

    It's foolish to think my words could possibly describe the glorious ride (H)Akeem Abdul Olajuwon has taken Houston basketball fans on these past 20 years and in particular, how he's impacted my life. Without him I probably never become a big Rocket fan.I certainly never would have created this site 5 years ago and the term "Clutch City" would conjure up visions more of used car parts than playoff basketball in Houston.



    From the moment I first saw him play, I was hooked. Clyde Drexler. Guy Lewis. Phi Slamma Jamma. 6-feet and 11-inches of raw athleticism. Cat quick, amazing footwork and a brilliant shot blocker, it was obvious Olajuwon was going to be a special player. He led the Cougars to the Final Four all three seasons. It was crushing he would leave after his junior season, but it was equally sweet he would play professional ball in the same city.

    From there he took it to a whole new level. He simply electrified this city. The Twin Towers. Those "Unbeatable" McDonald's chicken nuggets. Battles with referee Jack Madden. Cold-cocking Mitch Kupchak.

    Sports Illustrated dubbed him the "New Force" back in '86, and he proved them right. Olajuwon became a terror. Too strong. Too quick. All-World. Unstoppable. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's shyhook shot was said to be unblockable. Hakeem rejected it on several occasions. Remember that insane "fly-back-then-feet-to-the-rim" slam against the Kings in the 1986 playoffs? To this day you can still read "Etonics" printed on Otis Thorpe's forehead.

    Dream Shake. Dream Spin. Dream Hook.



    There's Arsenio Hall, practically begging Olajuwon on his show to come play for the Lakers, but Hakeem, while flattered, calls Houston "home" and expresses his desire to bring the first ever championship to the Texas city. On national TV. That was something.

    Things changed. Etonics out, LA Gear in. Teammates tossed due to drugs. Ralph Sampson simply tossed. Team got worse. Dream became bitter. Hakeem "The Team" they called him, but when guys like Buck Johnson, Derrick Chievous and Dave Jamerson are considered second and third scoring options, you take your chance with the big fella against triple-teams.

    1992 is rock bottom. The team just misses the playoffs. Hakeem is accused of faking an injury. He demands to be traded. The dream looks like it's over before it ever reaches the best part.

    Hakeem changes -- he's at peace with himself. He reinvents his game. Dominates, yet gets his teammates involved. The 1992-93 Rockets are suddenly a championship-contending ballclub and the next year Hakeem simply does it all. Defensive player of the year. League MVP. NBA Finals MVP. Same Season. Still the only player in league history to do it.



    He brings Houston, long with history of choking sports teams, its first ever championship. That was just a dream, until the Dream.

    The next season he brings another.

    Clyde returns. Anemia. 6th seed. Elimination games. "Stay Humble, Stay Hungry". Utah. Phoenix. San Antonio. David Robinson, the then-mighty Admiral, was once considered the equal of Olajuwon... that is until his demotion to sea scrub. Hakeem absolutely decimated and humiliated Robinson so badly in the Western Conference Finals, the performance still ranks in NBA history as one of legend.

    Some say Hakeem was fortunate he never faced Michael Jordan in the Finals. I say Michael Jordan should thank his Nike-sponsored lucky stars every single day of his life that he never faced Olajuwon in his prime in the Big Dance.

    Marc Jackson possibly replace the Dream? Please. You could fit 200 of those 270+ pound Jacksons in one of Olajuwon's shoes, and still have room left over for the Millenium Falcon.

    He becomes the greatest shot blocker of all-time. Named one of the 50 greatest players of all-time. Probably could be top 10 and will no doubt be known as a player that revolutionized the center position. Guard-like skills in a massive body. No pivot ever possessed the moves, the speed, the quickness and the athleticism of Hakeem Olajuwon.

    And that's where it ends for me. That's what I choose to remember about Dream. I'm not sure I like the rest. The bitterness in his final season in Houston, the pride, leaving the city. That chapter isn't in my book.

    You will be missed Hakeem. Good luck in Toronto. Your legend here is secure.
     
    3 people like this.
  2. RedStaag

    RedStaag Rookie

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    Just to put into perspective how great Olajuwon's legacy is, the Rockets have never caught any criticism for picking him over Jordan in the draft.

    Furthermore, while the pressure of being picked over Jordan finally caught up with Sam Bowie, Olajuwon rose to the challenge.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. dachuda86

    dachuda86 Member

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    yes but we still live with the critics who bash our championships because Jordan wasn't playing.
     
  4. RedStaag

    RedStaag Rookie

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    Yes, but those critics also fail to notice that Jordan never EVER had a quadruple double in his life. Jordan also never played in the Western conference.
     
  5. jmwilliamson

    jmwilliamson Contributing Member

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    I wouldn't be a basketball fan without Olajuwon either. I'm not a sports fan. I love basketball because I had the good fortune to witness one of the greatest to ever play the sport live on many occasions. Dream showed me how beautiful basketball can be.
     
  6. Summer Song Giver

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    I like to think of myself as a fairly savvy fan of all of my teams, Rockets included.

    I have to say that my greatest regret as a fan is being completely on board with the decision to move The Dream. I had bought into the promise that Cat and Francis had flashed and thought Hakeem was hindering their development.

    I would like to think that my feelings then were deeply rooted in youth and that were a similar situation to arise today, I would be much more inclined to appreciate everything Dream had done for the city and understand the importance of him never wearing any uniform than that of the Houston Rockets.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. REEKO_HTOWN

    REEKO_HTOWN Contributing Member

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    I loved Dream but to be honest I became a fan when I saw MJ against Barkley.

    Dream was great. I always a Found the role players (Kenny, Max, Horry, Thorpe, Sammy) the guys that drew my interest. The game was harder for those guys. Hakeem was just too good.
     
  8. Kam

    Kam Contributing Member

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    Dave Jamerson was awesome.
     
  9. rockbox

    rockbox Contributing Member

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    I never would have been a fan without Moses Malone and Elvin Hayes. I still remember the Yellow Cab commercials.
     
  10. ASidd_1990

    ASidd_1990 Rookie

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    Man, Hakeem is the greatest basketball player of all time!

    Being muslim myself, I've got the pleasure of actually meeting the great Hakeem numerous times at my mosque. I always ask him about his accomplishments, but he always would say its about us, not me.

    Man, I love that guy!

    Good Muslim Brother!
     
  11. tcadriel

    tcadriel Member

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    Watching Hakeem play at level that no other could reach(except for MJ), is legendary. Something you tell your kids about and something they will never truly understand. Similar to the stories told by the Greeks about hero's such as Hercules. ;)

    BTW, thanks Tinman for not letting us forget the good times!
     
  12. tinman

    tinman Contributing Member

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    Hey these are words from that Clutch dude, I'm just reposting his great article just in case people forget why this site exists.

    Props to Clutch for remembering those Chicken McNuggets commercials.
     
  13. MLittle577

    MLittle577 Contributing Member

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    I had Etonics! Until someone stole them out my gym locker :-(
     
  14. mikol13

    mikol13 Contributing Member

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    I was a Rocket fan before Hakeem, but thank the high heavens for that coin flip.
     
  15. weslinder

    weslinder Contributing Member

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    You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to tinman again.

    Awesome article! Thanks for reposting.
     
  16. Dubious

    Dubious Contributing Member

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    Get off my lawn junior!

    Signed,

    -Moses Malone-
    -Elvin Hayes-
    -Calvin Murphy-
     
  17. Angkor Wat

    Angkor Wat Member

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    Why should we care about those critics? What the Rockets accomplished is proven fact. You can't deny it. The only thing that matters is what the real fans think of our championships. Let them put millions of asterisks on our title runs. No point in crying about this because we know the real truth.
     
  18. weslinder

    weslinder Contributing Member

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    Haters hate.
     
  19. thething

    thething Contributing Member

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    Would Jordan have been so bad? I believe Houston would have taken him over Bowie with the 2nd pick.
     
  20. Raven

    Raven Member

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    This is why I wouldn't be shocked to see the Rockets part ways with Yao. It can happen to anybody.
     
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