Beyond the Glory: Hakeem Olajuwon

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A selection as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history and a two-time NBA champion as a member of the Houston , becomes the latest athlete to be profiled on Fox Sports Net¿s documentary series Beyond the Glory. The 12-time NBA All-Star is featured on Sunday, June 30 at 8:00 p.m. local time. Growing up in Lagos, Nigeria, poured his energy into athletics and school, playing soccer every day and hoping for an academic scholarship to the United States. Before discovering basketball at the age of 15, Hakeem never imagined that his road to riches might be paved with hardwood. This installment of Beyond the Glory chronicles his journey as he leaves Nigeria to find success and becomes the first foreign-born player drafted in the NBA and his country¿s most popular export. After arriving at the University of Houston, Olajuwon rapidly improved his game and soon found a home with his high-flying teammates (including Clyde Drexler) who became known as Phi Slamma Jamma because of their incredible dunking ability. Hakeem found success early as he reached the Final Four in all three years he spent in college. However, he also learned the pain of defeat after losing in one semifinal and two final games including the loss to underdog North Carolina State on a last second dunk. In 1984, Olajuwon was selected first overall in the NBA draft by the Houston and quickly demonstrated his stellar abilities. After reaching the NBA finals in 1986, Hakeem faced several years of disappointment with his unsuccessful team before reaching the pinnacle of his career by winning the NBA Championship in 1994. The next year he reunited with college teammate Clyde Drexler for a second title run. Hakeem and those around him discuss the ups and downs of his career and the hard work and devotion that enabled him to find success as a pioneer in the league. Beyond the Glory also hears from Olajuwon about his spiritual journey and the return to the peace of his childhood with a renewed devotion to Islam. He also discusses his personal struggles, including the separation from his girlfriend and daughter. Here are some of the quotes from the one-hour show: on advice received in Nigeria from Pond about his future: ¿So he advised, ¿You shouldn¿t go to University of Nigeria. Your future is in America. You know, you can go to any college in America right now with no questions.¿¿ On his first trip to the Final Four: ¿That was the first time I saw the crowd, you know, just for basketball. That was mind-boggling to see that much impact basketball makes to people.¿ On being the first foreign-born player in the NBA: ¿Being the first foreign player, that opens doors for many players throughout the globe. That makes you unique from the rest of the players. At the same time, you feel so privileged to be the first one.¿ On his return to Islam: ¿I was in tears again just to hear this call because you¿re so powerful. I¿ve been missing this all this time and it was so next door to me.¿ Tomjanovich on the losing years Hakeem spent with the : ¿To have a taste of that success, to get so close to a championship early in his career, and then all of the sudden to get knocked down several notches. It was very frustrating.¿ Patterson on Hakeem¿s attitude before returning to religion: ¿He recognized he had to change his personality, and what he was doing. He had to change how he treated his teammates and fellow employees.¿ Horry on Hakeem¿s return to Islam: ¿He used to get in a lot of fights before he really got into his religion. You know, then he became a peaceful, quite man.¿ Young on Hakeem¿s rapid progress after arriving at University of Houston: ¿All of a sudden one day you go up to dunk on him and he¿s there to block it. You pass it off to the other guy and he goes up to dunk it and he¿s back on his feet to recover to block that shot.¿ Shaq: ¿There¿ll probably never be another .¿ The second season for Beyond The Glory, FSN's highest-rated weekly show, features 20 original programs. Each installment debuts on Sunday at 8 p.m. local time.
Tagged: Rockets, Lakers, Raptors, Robert Horry

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