Rockets' Olajuwon monument will not include his picture or likeness

Updated: February 14, 2008, 11:44 PM ET
Associated Press

HOUSTON -- The Houston Rockets plan to unveil a monument honoring former star Hakeem Olajuwon on April 11 outside the team's arena.

Hakeem Olajuwon

Olajuwon

Organizers said they worked hard to ensure that the monument complied with Olajuwon's Islamic beliefs. Rockets spokesman Nelson Luis told The Associated Press that details about the monument had not been released.

Houston television station KRIV reported that it would focus on his jersey and accomplishments, but in keeping with the tenets of his Muslim faith, it won't include a picture or likeness of him.

"It's a wonderful monument to the greatest player in the history, I think, of Houston sports, and one of the greatest players of all time in the NBA," Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said.

Olajuwon led the Rockets to two NBA championships and was the most valuable player of the finals both years.

"I am so grateful for their thoughtfulness to honor me," Olajuwon said. "It can't be any higher than that. I feel so humbled. I mean, like, 'Wow ... I mean that much.' "

Olajuwon said a statue was not acceptable because it is against his faith.

Houston artist Eric Kaposta designed the monument.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press