Hakeem Olajuwon might be too old to play, but he will help the Rockets by mentoring Dwight Howard.
By SHAWN RAMSEY FS Southwest
At 50 years old, Hakeem Olajuwon might be too old to lace up and play for the Rockets, but that doesn't mean he isn't willing to do all he can to bring another NBA championship back to Houston.
Olajuwon will rejoin the Rockets in an official capacity for the first time since he last played for Houston in 2001 as a mentor to the team's interior players, or in other words, newly signed center
Dwight Howard (and
Omer Asik, too).
Howard is certainly one of the most gifted players to hit a basketball court, but there is no doubt he needs a little polishing to get to the high level Olajuwon set during his playing days in the 90's.
Olajuwon's duties and title are still being discussed, but according to Rockets GM Daryl Morey, there is mutual interest to get a deal done to bring one of the most popular players in team history back to Houston officially.
"We are going to bring him in as full-time as is possible. It's not done, but we have mutual interest to get it done, and we've had some early discussions," Morey told the Houston Chronicle. "We want him to work with Dwight and Omer, and he wants to do that."
Olajuwon has worked with Howard on two different offseason occasions in the past, as the Hall of Famer has become the go-to mentor for many NBA players, including
Kobe Bryant and
LeBron James. This time, however, Olajuwon will be helping mold the latest in the line of great centers to play with the Rockets.
"He has improved so much," Olajuwon said to the Houston Chronicle. "I like with the
Houston Rockets he will get a chance to show his true potential. That's exciting. The last two years, he has not really been given that opportunity to really, really express his game, his comfort level and confidence. Here he has a team that is willing to do that. They want him to do that."