Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon is a 12-time All-Star and two-time NBA Champion and Finals MVP. It’s not a bad return for a player who started off playing soccer in Lagos, Nigeria, and only picked up a basketball for the first time at the age of 15.
It took two years for the 7-foot (2.13-metre) centre to be recruited to play collegiate basketball. Olajuwon is widely considered to be one of the greatest centers, as well as one of the greatest basketball players of all-time.
Here’s what you need to know about the best Hakeem Olajuwon rookie cards, as we list a trio of the top options you’ll find on the market.
The Best Hakeem Olajuwon Rookie Cards
We’ve included three of the best Hakeem Olajuwon RCs below, all released during the mid-to-late 1980’s.
3. 1986-87 Fleer Sticker Hakeem Olajuwon / Akeem Olajuwon RC #9 (eBay)
The 1986 Fleer sticker insert set accompanies the popular base set, including a small selection (11) of the best players from the collection. Each one went on to become a Hall of Famer, including the likes of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.
Olajuwon is shown in a dominant action shot, while his name is found (Akeem) on a yellow tab on the left hand side. It’s worth noting that Olajuwon changed the spelling of his name from Akeem to Hakeem in 1991.
Unpeeled pristine versions are where the true value lies, and there are only 59 PSA 10 copies at the current time of writing.
2. 1984-85 Star Hakeem Olajuwon / Akeem Olajuwon XRC #237 (eBay)
The 1985 Star XRC is a great early option, released two years before the others on this list. It features a simple action shot of Olajuwon clutching a ball in both hands.
The vivid orange border is eye-catching, and the 1984-85 Star Hakeem Olajuwon card is one of the toughest from the set to find at higher grades. (The orange border scuffs easily, while it is believed that most sets had production runs which number under 5,000 cards.)
However, Star Co. counterfeits have been a major concern in the hobby, so we’d stick to graded versions whenever possible.
1. 1986-87 Fleer Hakeem Olajuwon / Akeem Olajuwon RC #82 (eBay)
The 1986 Fleer collection is one of the most popular basketball sets ever created, as it happens to contain the famous Michael Jordan RC. (It’s the most coveted base Jordan collectible by a wide margin.)
Olajuwon is featured doing what he does best in his 1986 Fleer rookie card. It has a familiar red, white, and blue border. There’s a classic Fleer logo in the top right corner.
As with the majority of 1986 Fleer cards, PSA 10 copies are where the true value lies.