Why Hakeem Olajuwon is the Greatest International Player Ever

N.B. Lindberg
Houston Rockets v Washington Bullets
Houston Rockets v Washington Bullets / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages
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For close to 20 years, the Houston Rockets orbited around the celestial body known as the Dream. Hakeem “the Dream” Olajuwon is the greatest Rocket in the history of the franchise, and, due to his longevity and peak, it’s a distinction that could stand for the rest of time. 

With the Dallas Mavericks retiring Dirk Nowitzki’s jersey this past week, the debate over who the greatest international player in NBA history has come back to the forefront. Dirk, a native of Germany, was an excellent player, and placing above Hakeem isn’t a crime against humanity, but it may well be a crime against intellect. 

Hakeem Olajuwon is the greatest international player in NBA history. Suggesting otherwise is to ignore history and data. Hakeem built a resume and legacy that no international player has matched. While Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic may come for the throne, they’re both years away from that becoming a serious conversation. Hakeem is a basketball immortal, and in the wise words of the imaginary Babe Ruth from The Sandlot, “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.”