Feb 12, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Former Houston Rockets basketball playerHakeem Olajuwon
watches during the second quarter of a game against the Washington Wizards at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Hall-of-Famer Hakeem Olajuwon has been named the NBA Ambassador to Africa by the league to bridge the game of basketball and help with the development of basketball players in the continent.
Olajuwon expressed his excitement and honor Wednesday morning in a press release:
“Basketball has given me so much in life. In this new role I am looking forward to impacting young Africans and utilizing the power of sport to help change lives in what is an exciting new chapter in my career.”
‘The Dream’ is expected to represent the NBA in a variety of ways ranging from NBA Cares events, basketball development functions, and to help pave the path between diplomacy in Africa and basketball.
Over 30 players from Africa have played in the NBA since 1984, and the league opened up the NBA Africa office in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2010.
Olajuwon is a native of Lagos, Nigeria and came to America to play at the University of Houston under Guy Lewis, where he would reach stardom. He would then go on to win 2 NBA titles, 2 Defensive Player of the Year honors, an MVP award in 1994, and 12 All-Star appearances after being taken first overall by the Rockets in the 1984 draft.