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Fran continues to drool over Dream

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Old School, Jan 16, 2002.

  1. Old School

    Old School Member

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    In typical Blinebury fashion he gets on his knees and kisses Olajuwons butt once again.

    From Wednesdays Chron:

    Olajuwon very much at home

    By FRAN BLINEBURY
    Copyright 2002 Houston Chronicle

    TORONTO -- It wasn't long after his arrival north of the border when a helpful someone presented Hakeem Olajuwon with the most puzzling object -- a long stick with a brush at one end and a sharp-edged strip of plastic at the other.

    "What is this for?" Olajuwon asked.

    To scrape the snow and ice off your car, he was told.

    "You are kidding me," he said.

    A few weeks later, early in the regular season, Olajuwon awoke one morning inside the house he is leasing south of town and gazed out the window to see what looked like a fluffy down comforter pulled up over his back yard and all along the shores of Lake Ontario.

    "So white, so beautiful," he said. "I had never seen anything that looked so peaceful. I thought it was perfect."

    That is, until Olajuwon pulled on his coat and hat, then went outside to drive to practice and found his car buried under the snow.

    "It was time to find that stick," he said with a giggle.

    Call it the cold reality of life in Canada after growing up in the warm climate of Lagos, Nigeria, and spending the previous two decades in Houston.

    Or think of it, the way he prefers, as the Frozen Dream, a different yet satisfying way to conclude a wonderful NBA career.

    When Olajuwon signed on last summer with the Raptors, he was seeking a measure of respect for his aging skills that he didn't think was coming from the Rockets.

    What he has found is that a change of scenery -- not to mention countries -- has given him a greater sense of fulfillment, both professionally and personally.

    "I know there were many people who said the perfect ending was to play my entire career in Houston and retire there," Olajuwon said. "But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that was someone else's expectation.

    "I loved my time with the Rockets. Houston will always be home. But through the years, I was always wondering about those players you see who are always going from team to team. Guys like Tracy Murray, Chucky Brown and Mario Elie. I wondered how you get your life in order moving to a new city and adjust to all of the changes. This is an added experience for me."

    Most of the culture shock is in the minor things: tuning his ear to a new accent on the streets, discovering restaurants and learning the traffic patterns in a different city.

    "Do you know about snow tires?" he asks a visitor.

    What Olajuwon knows is that the adjustment period has been made easier by the rapid adaptation of his wife, Dalia, and their three daughters -- Rahma, 4, Aishia, 2, and Noor, 3 months. The two older girls are enrolled in preschool and would almost have you think they were born under the maple leaf flag.

    "They had never even seen snow before," Olajuwon said. "Now they can't get enough of it. They wake up every day and ask me when it is going to snow for them again. They want to be outside all of the time, doing the things that kids in colder cities do. They ride sleds. They build snowmen. They have snowball fights. They have even had me in them.

    "All of the years of traveling up north during my career, all we worried about was getting from the plane to the hotel to the arena to play the games. We wanted to stay out of the cold. Now I'm living in it and having a different appreciation for it. It's not so cold."

    At the same time, Olajuwon is finding a different kind of warmth not just on the court for the Raptors, but in the locker room, among members of the Toronto organization.

    "Hakeem is one of the 50 greatest," Vince Carter said. "That says all you need to know about him right there. That's why I thought it was important for us to bring him to our team. For who he is. This franchise has not had a player of his stature.

    "He's older, yes. But that doesn't diminish who he is, who he's been. And I think that's going to help us down the road."

    Who Olajuwon has been to date this season is the new guy, the soon-to-be-39-year-old veteran who is trying to find his place, develop a rhythm to his game.

    Averaging just over eight points and seven rebounds per game, he gives the Raptors an inside presence that had been missing. He had a 20-rebound game in November and blocked nine shots in a game in December.

    Recently, Olajuwon has come off the injured list, where he spent nine games with an infected toe on his left foot. He suffered a sprained left ankle in his second game back.

    Power forward Antonio Davis, who was supposed to benefit the most from Olajuwon's arrival, has at times been uncomfortable with the presence of another low-post player, and head coach Lenny Wilkens has limited Olajuwon's playing time to less than 27 minutes per game and frequently has him on the bench late.

    But in his first game back on the active roster Friday, Olajuwon was reinserted for the last two minutes against Atlanta, sank a bucket that tied the score in regulation and played all of the overtime, finishing with 16 points and 11 rebounds in the win.

    In Sunday's desultory 79-72 home loss to the Clippers, Olajuwon shot just 3-for-8 and had two rebounds as the Raptors collectively were clueless against a basic zone defense. Since reaching their high-water mark of five games above the .500 mark in November, the Raptors have gone just 10-11 since and failed to assert themselves in the ripe-for-the-taking Central Division.

    There is some grumbling that high preseason expectations are not being met, but there is no dissatisfaction with Olajuwon. His role in the offense is secondary, but his presence has spurred development in backup center Keon Clark.

    "He's showing a lot of us what it means to be a professional, the way he carries himself," Carter said. "We'll be all right as the second half of the season comes and we settle in. We're getting comfortable with Hakeem."

    As he is getting more comfortable with Toronto. Upon Olajuwon's arrival soon after the Sept. 11 tragedy, it was important to the large Muslim population to have a respected, well-known face to put on their community.

    "It has been a wonderful new experience in that area," he said. "Meeting so many new people, making new fans. We just celebrated our first Ramadan outside of Houston in years, and it was joyous.

    "None of this takes away from my career with the Rockets, and now there is no bitterness about leaving. It was the right thing at the time. Right for them. Right for me. I'll look forward to seeing Steve (Francis) and Cuttino (Mobley) and the guys at the game, but this has been a great experience for me. I think it's made our family even closer."

    There are fewer friends and acquaintances here, so the phone doesn't ring as often. There is less knowledge of basketball here, so his face isn't so recognizable to the average person on the street. The Olajuwons have been able to dine at restaurants, even go to the grocery store and not be recognized.

    "They look, and they think, `Is that you?' " Olajuwon said. "But they aren't sure, and it just lets us have more of a normal life, to just fit into Canada. There are no regrets."

    Olajuwon still wants to attend his first Maple Leafs hockey game and, oh yes, one other thing.

    "My daughters have been telling me what we will do the next time it snows," he said. "You go to the top of a very long hill, and you get into some kind of rubber tube, and they give you a push. This sounds like fun."

    Not to mention a priceless image of Canada's newest extra-large import hurtling downhill.

    "Do you know," the Frozen Dream asked, "if you can steer those things?"

     
  2. Band Geek Mobster

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    I thought it was a good article...

    I thought Blinebury did go a little far in thinking that Hakeem made Keon Clark a better player though, Dream's never been known to be a mentor or anything.
     
  3. Old School

    Old School Member

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    Blinebury will never say a bad word about Hakeem. Why do you think he always got the scoops when it came to Dream?

    I think the "Dream as a teacher" gets a little overblown at times. Cato is on record saying Carroll Dawson spent more time teaching him than Hakeem.

    OS
     
  4. Rocketability

    Rocketability Member

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    Dream wants to get the experience of a jouneyman? :confused:
     
  5. Lynus302

    Lynus302 Contributing Member

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    I miss you, Dream. :(
     
  6. ZRB

    ZRB Contributing Member

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    Oh yeah, that Olajuwon is a real prick. Nice articles should NEVER be written about him, because he is nothing but a worthless piece of human trash. From now on, sports writers should rip Hakeem every chance they get, like you, Old School.
     
  7. Old School

    Old School Member

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    Hakeem turned his back and took a dump on you and all of us Rocket fans. For that I should be thankful? Maybe you like the smell but I don't.


    OS
     
  8. Jared Novak

    Jared Novak Contributing Member

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    Hakeem turned his back and took a dump on you and all of us Rocket fans. For that I should be thankful? Maybe you like the smell but I don't.


    OS
    ____________________________________________________

    Bravo! Bravo! Well done.
     
  9. fromobile

    fromobile Contributing Member

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    It's racist is what it is. Blinebury is too wrapped up in the Benevolent Muslim side of Dream. From the way Hakeem looks and talks it would seem like he is just the way Blinebury makes him out to be. He's an average jerk. He was exchanging suits, eating chicken and tooting lines of coke with Moses Malone in the 80's. He never payed child support. He's probably as stubborn with his wife and kids as he is on the basketball court. To this day his input in the Raptors huddles has gotta be something akin to "mus etablish de post." "Make them pay!". Imagine that with his kids.

    "Daddy, Abisola hit me!"

    "ETABLISH DE POST!!!! DAMMIT!!!!"

    smack!

    "MAKE THEM PAY!!!"
     
  10. ZRB

    ZRB Contributing Member

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    How did he do that Old School? By insulting Rudy? Please...
     
  11. pippendagimp

    pippendagimp Member

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    hehehehehehehehehehehhehe :D
     
  12. francis 4 prez

    francis 4 prez Contributing Member

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    OK first Clutch does his last play analysis and then this. These posts have made a horrible rockets night a little better.
     
  13. Sane

    Sane Member

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    Hakeem did what was best for him, and the Rockets. It's not like the Rockets wanted him to stay. I wouldn't be surprised if the offers they gave him were just excuses. Don't get me wrong, I'm a Rockets fan, but it was the orgaization's mistake, not Hakeem's. They offered him a contract smaller than Moochie's. What kind of respect is that?
     
  14. ROCKSS

    ROCKSS Contributing Member

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    I thought it was a good article.
     
  15. TheFreak

    TheFreak Contributing Member

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    Hate to break it to everyone, but people in Houston would rather read about Hakeem than the Rockets. No one in Houston cares about the Rockets. That's the truth. Blinebury is giving the people what they want. It may come as a surprise, but people still want to read about what the greatest Rocket ever is up to these days, especially after games like last night.

    Anytime you want to explain how signing somewhere else as a free agent equates to "taking a dump on fans", you're welcome to try (especially when the Rockets had no "fans" last year, as evidenced by them being dead last in attendance -- fact). I think what you meant to say was "Hakeem hurt my feelings, now I'm going to act like a jilted lover". Feel free to go back and edit the post to reflect your true feelings.
     
  16. HayesStreet

    HayesStreet Member

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    Hakeem was ABSOLUTELY WRONG. He said 'None of this takes away from my career with the Rockets, and now there is no bitterness about leaving.'

    Apparently some of these self titled 'fans' aren't any less bitter. Its a shame they can't get a life.
     
  17. Old School

    Old School Member

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    Why do I need to go back to edit my post. Those are my true feelings.

    So you don't have a problem when a player just up and leaves a team? You don't want to see your favorite players stay with the only team and city they've ever played in?

    And the Rocketds DID try to get him back. He turned down their legit offer. That's too bad...it's a horrible ending to what could have been a very good story.

    OS
     
  18. BlastOff

    BlastOff Member

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    Dream in Canada is interesting. I hope the Chron continues it.

    I think the point of the article is respect to the Great One. I have no problem being reminded of how good we were during Dream's tenure; it gives me something to look forward to again hopefully in the near future with Stevie at the helm.
     
  19. spence99

    spence99 Member

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    What I don't get is he says he was mad in Houston because he didn't get enough playing time, didn't play down the stretch, and wasn't involved in the offense. Now in Toronto, he plays even less, does not play down the stretch, and only averages 8 points a game. Obviously he was not telling the truth!!!
     
  20. TheFreak

    TheFreak Contributing Member

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    Do you have a problem when anyone else decides to change jobs? Of course I want that, but what I want doesn't matter. The player in this case deserves to leave on his own terms. Would you rather we eliminate free agency? Do you want to work in the same place your entire career?

    Maybe "legit" to you. How do you define "try"? All you know is what you hear through the media. You have no idea what the Rockets' intentions were. Anyway, let's say their offer was legit and they did try. That means he chose to leave. Why is that such a horrible thing? I'm still waiting for you to explain how Hakeem took a dump on me. Should he seek your counsel before his next big career decision?
     

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