Earlier this month, the NBA said its annual Defensive Player of the Year award would be renamed as The Hakeem Olajuwon Trophy in honor of the Hall of Famer and former Houston Rockets center.
On Saturday, Olajuwon spoke about the decision at the Fertitta Center on the campus of the University of Houston, where “The Dream” watched his former college basketball team improve to 14-1 this season with a win over the University of Central Florida (UCF).
“That’s the crown,” Olajuwon told Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston. “That sealed my career. It can’t be anything higher than that.”
Olajuwon was a back-to-back winner of the NBAleague’s Defensive Player of the Year award in the 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons, and he was named to the All-Defensive first team five times and second team four times. He is the league’s all-time leader in blocks (3,830) while ranking No. 9 in steals (2,162) and No. 14 in rebounds (13,748).
The University of Houston product was named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history in 1996 and to the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team in 2021. He was enshrined into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008 and had his No. 34 retired in Houston on Nov. 9, 2002.
Hakeem Olajuwon on the NBA naming the Defensive Player of the Year Award after him. It’s now called the Hakeem Olajuwon Trophy: “That’s the crown. That sealed my career. It can’t be anything higher than that.” And Hakeem is in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. pic.twitter.com/EzcvPFz8vs
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) December 31, 2022