Hakeem Olajuwon was recently immortalized as a name associated with the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award. Only he could truly put into words what that meant for the Houston Rockets legend.
“That’s the crown. I mean, it defined my career,” said Hakeem Olajuwon. When asked about honor. “Nothing higher than this.”
Hakeem Olajuwon said about the DPOY award being named after him. pic.twitter.com/5uyDA1yff5
— Hoopsbot (@hoops_bot) January 1, 2023
The fact that it comes from someone who has won two NBA championships with the Rockets means the ratings shouldn’t be taken lightly. Hakeem may not be able to trade his ring for honor, but he will honor him by spotlighting his defensive excellence for decades to come.
Several other defensive stalwarts had trophy claims, but it’s hard to dispute Hakeem Olajuwon’s resume. He has an eye-popping 3,830 blocked shots in his career, the highest blocked shots in NBA history. The Dream’s total and his 2nd place he is 541 behind Dikenbe Mutombo. That’s more than the 2,732 difference between Mutombo and his ninth-place he Shaquille O’Neal. It’s hard to surpass his 18-year career averaging 3.1 blocks per game.
It’s not just counting Olajuwon’s stats. His combination of length, instincts, and lateral mobility has made him an unprecedented defensive presence that has anchored the Rockets’ backline for nearly his 20 years.
There was a lot of backlash against the NBA’s decision to immortalize its regular season awards by tying them to some legends of the game. It’s great to see at least one of you sharing how important it is to him.