The Seattle Times’ Percy Allen wonders about the whereabouts of the former Rockets center, but proceeds to answer his own question.
Where’s Hakeem Olajuwon?
The greatest player in the history of the Houston Rockets franchise is noticeably absent from All-Star weekend, when he should have been the grand marshal of a parade along Memorial Drive.
“That’s surprising that he’s not here,” said basketball analyst Steve Kerr, who spent several years playing against Olajuwon. “You would think he’d be the unofficial host for the weekend.”
Former Rocket Clyde Drexler began Friday reliving his glory days and will loft jumpers alongside Houston Comet Sheryl Swoopes inside the Toyota Center tonight in a ballyhooed shooting competition that combines past and present NBA greats with WNBA stars.
There’s been several sightings of Elvin Hayes, Moses Malone and Rudy Tomjanovich, who’ve recounted stories of Clutch City.
Even Calvin Murphy, who would be forgiven for keeping a low profile after being acquitted of sexual abuse charges alleged by his daughters, has made the radio talk-show rounds.
Olajuwon, however, is a half a world away. He lives in virtual solitude in Jordan. He studies Islam at a university and raises his family, friends say.
Later, Allen mentions “I wonder if he was embarrassed when it was discovered that a Houston mosque that he founded contributed $80,000 to the Islamic African Relief Agency, now known as the Islamic American Relief Agency, and charities allegedly linked to terrorism. Reportedly, he denied any prior knowledge of the terrorist connections to his donation.”
Embarrassed, perhaps. Frustrated, more likely, that he’s still being asked about it, and probably not in a hurry to visit the United States or Houston as long as it keeps coming up.