The Life and Legacy of Hakeem Olajuwon

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By Mirin Fader

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The life and legacy of pioneering international basketball superstar Hakeem Olajuwon, a two‑time NBA champion whose Hall of Fame career forever changed the game, both in the United States and around the globe—from the New York Times bestselling author of Giannis, Mirin Fader.

It’s now the norm for NBA and collegiate teams to have international players dotting their rosters. The Olympics are no longer a gimme for Team USA. Both via fans streaming from all over the globe and leagues starting in countries throughout the world, the international presence of the game of basketball is a force to be reckoned with.

That all started with Hakeem “the Dream” Olajuwon. He was the first international player to win the MVP, which is hard to believe now considering the last time an American‑born player won it was in 2018. Award-winning hoops journalist Mirin Fader explores this phenomenal shift through the lens of what Olajuwon accomplished throughout the 1980s and ‘90s. Dream ignites nostalgia for Phi Slama Jama and “the Dream Shake,” while also exploring the profound influence of Olajuwon’s Muslim faith on his approach to life and basketball, and how his devotion to his faith inspired generations of Muslim people around the world.

Olajuwon’s ongoing work with NBA Africa, his status as an international ambassador for the game, and his consultations with today’s brightest stars, from LeBron James to Giannis Antetokounmpo, brings the story right up to the present moment, and beyond. Synthesizing hundreds of interviews and in-depth research, Fader provides the definitive biography of Olajuwon as well as a crucial understanding of his pivotal impact on the ever-shifting game.

  • "With storytelling and writing as dexterous and thrilling as the player himself, Mirin Fader achieves something special with Dream. A massively generous portrait of a life, which feels not only informative, but also transportative."
    Hanif Abdurraqib, author of There’s Always This Year and A Little Devil in America
  • "Fader's nuanced portrayal offers a fresh perspective on one of basketball's greatest centers, showing how Olajuwon's unwavering devotion to Islam shaped his character and inspired a generation. As the NBA's first superstar to openly practice Islam, Olajuwon didn't just break records—he broke barriers, paving the way for future Muslim athletes like me and showcasing the beautiful harmony between faith and sport."
    Ibtihaj Muhammad, author of Proud
  • Dream is a dream book about a dream topic by one of the best basketball writers on the planet. Hakeem Olajuwon’s journey from Nigeria to NBA superstardom, is one for the ages, and Mirin Fader weaves it with reverential beauty.”
    Jeff Pearlman, author of Showtime and The Last Folk Hero

On Sale
Oct 15, 2024
Page Count
400 pages
Hachette Books

Mirin Fader

About the Author

Mirin Fader is a senior staff writer for The Ringer. Her first book, Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA Champion, was a New York Times Bestseller, Los Angeles Times Bestseller, Wall Street Journal Bestseller, USA Today Bestseller, Publishers Weekly Bestseller. She has profiled some of the NBA’s biggest stars, including Giannis Antetokounmpo, Ja Morant, DeMar DeRozan, and LaMelo Ball, telling the backstories that have shaped some of our most complex, most dominant, heroes. Fader wrote for Bleacher Report from 2017 to 2020 and the Orange County Register from 2013 to 2017. Her work has been featured in the “Best American Sports Writing” series and honored by the Pro Basketball Writers Association, the Associated Press Sports Editors, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, the Football Writers Association of America, and the Los Angeles Press Club. She lives in Los Angeles.

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