Rockets Hakeem Olajuwon believes protests will spark change

Houston Rockets Hakeem Olajuwon (Photo credit should read TED MATHIAS/AFP via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Hakeem Olajuwon (Photo credit should read TED MATHIAS/AFP via Getty Images) /

Houston Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon believes the nation-wide protests we’ve seen will lead to positive change.

On Monday, Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets celebrated the Rockets’ 25th anniversary of their second championship from the 1994-95 season. During that season, the Rockets did the impossible, becoming the first team with a sixth-place finish to win the NBA title in league history.

Olajuwon joined SportsTalk 790’s afternoon show The A-Team to share his thoughts on many topics, including current Rockets superstar James Harden. One of the other things Olajuwon discussed was the racism plaguing our country and the subsequent protests that have transpired as a result.

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Houston Rockets’ Olajuwon believes protests will spark change.

Olajuwon stated, “The racism wasn’t as magnified as it is now with social media. But I think it’s always been there. But it depends on the individual and how you take it.

Of course the treatment that the black athletes get is different than the regular person. But everybody has their rights. You have that freedom of expression and freedom of speech, as long as you don’t break the law.

In other countries outside America, we don’t have that same opportunity as Americans do. I believe strongly that these protests will bring about positive change, God willing.”

These are quite genuine comments from Olajuwon, and he provides a unique perspective having been an outsider to the United States for the first 17 years of his life. This has provided Olajuwon the ability to compare and contrast life in America versus life elsewhere.

He’s also right that social media has helped to shed light into many of the incidents that have gone viral, such as the recent tragedy involving George Floyd, who was killed by the Minneapolis Police Department despite them knowing the incident was being filmed. The incident sparked outrage and a barrage of protests nation-wide, which Olajuwon believes will lead to positive change. This was the first incident in which all 50 American states protested, which is the type of reaction that that supports Olajuwon’s optimism.

Several other Rockets players have also done their part to join the Black Lives Matter movement, as we saw Russell Westbrook join protesters in Compton, while emphasizing the importance of protecting loved ones. Westbrook was alongside fellow NBA All-Star Demar DeRozan and rapper Kendrick Lamar as well.

Rockets forward Thabo Sefolosha also made himself vulnerable in a very forthcoming interview, in which he explained how the George Floyd incident reminded him of an encounter he had with law enforcement several years earlier.

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Olajuwon is certainly right about the fact that our nation needs positive change, which has become more evident with each passing day. There have been multiple other officer-involved slayings since Floyd, so one can only hope Olajuwon’s belief holds true, and that our nation is actually able to experience positive change.