Hakeem Olajuwon was one of the most versatile big men in NBA history and a highly-productive player during his entire career. "The Dream" enjoyed a very successful run at center on both offense and defense, and Hakeem Olajuwon cards remain popular in his retirement.
Born in Nigeria, Hakeem Olajuwon did not play basketball until he was 15, but he caught on quickly. By the end of his career, the towering Olajuwon was a 12-time All-Star and two-time NBA Champion and Finals MVP. He also was the 1994 regular-season MVP. His signature "Dream Shake" best showcases the impressive athleticism that the seven-footer possessed.
In spite of this success, many Hakeem Olajuwon autograph cards are quite affordable, including some of his premium options.
The following list includes the best Hakeem Olajuwon cards available today. Are there any Hakeem Olajuwon cards that you think deserve a spot? Mention them in the comments.
Top Hakeem Olajuwon Basketball Cards to Collect
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1984-85 Star Hakeem Olajuwon / Akeem Olajuwon XRC #237
Although the Star Co. brand is somewhat polarizing in the hobby, there is no discounting its significance as the first NBA-licensed card for multiple star players, including Hakeem Olajuwon. The vivid orange border is eye-catching, but the design is relatively simple. The 1984-85 Star Hakeem Olajuwon card is one of the toughest cards from the set to find in high-grade.
Additionally, collectors may notice a name discrepancy on early Hakeem Olajuwon cards. The 1984-85 Star Company Basketball release was the first of several cards that lists Olajuwon's name as Akeem, as opposed to the more-familiar Hakeem. Olajuwon changed the spelling of his name from Akeem to Hakeem in 1991.
1986-87 Fleer Hakeem Olajuwon / Akeem Olajuwon RC #82
Despite releasing two years after the Star Company card, many still view the 1986-87 Fleer Basketball card as the official Hakeem Olajuwon rookie card. The colorful border and glossy finish give a high-quality design that was not common at the time.
There is also a sticker insert for Olajuwon, which offers a completely different look.
1987-88 Fleer Hakeem Olajuwon / Akeem Olajuwon #80
A largely underappreciated set, 1988-89 Fleer Basketball offers budget collectors an intriguing early Hakeem Olajuwon card. The overall appeal is hurt by the lack of star rookies and the unfortunate circumstance of following up one of the biggest products of all-time. Regardless, the relative rarity of the product has pushed unopened box prices quite high. The 1987-88 Fleer design is not as distinct as the previous year, but still offers a solid base card for Hakeem Olajuwon fans.
The sticker insert returns, but the design does not work as well as the 1986-87 card.
1994-95 Skybox Premium Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson Autograph
Fast-forward a few years and Akeem is now Hakeem. As one of the very first Hakeem Olajuwon autographed cards, the 1994-95 Skybox Premium card has the added benefit of a David Robinson signature. The card came via redemption and shows the two giants battling for position. The dual signed card does not surface often and that is directly attributed to the tough 1:15,000 pack odds.
1996-97 Skybox Premium Autographics Hakeem Olajuwon Autograph #61
Another early autograph from Hakeem Olajuwon, the Autographics line has some of the most popular signed cards from the 1990s. Although the blue signatures were intended to be included as a short print, all of Olajuwon's card are signed in blue ink. In addition to '96-97, there are multiple Olajuwon Autographics cards in subsequent years.
1997-98 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems Hakeem Olajuwon #59 #/100
Like most top players from this period, Hakeem Olajuwon's Precious Metal Gems parallel from 1997-98 Metal Universe Basketball is a hobby favorite. Although the foil Hakeem Olajuwon cards are numbered to 100, the first 10 cards were the rare green version and the remaining 90 were red. The cards are very condition-sensitive and are rarely seen for sale.
1997-98 Upper Deck Game Jersey Hakeem Olajuwon #GJ10
Another first in basketball, the 1997-98 Upper Deck Game Jersey set provided a concept that was monumental at the time. With a drop rate of 1:2,500 cards for the 22-card set, the Hakeem Olajuwon jersey card is not an easy pull. Like many of the 1990s inserts, this is tough card to track down.
Any NBA Exquisite Collection Hakeem Olajuwon Autographs
Absent from the inaugural Exquisite Collection product in 2003-04, Hakeem Olajuwon was featured on several autograph cards in 2004-05 Exquisite Collection and in the later sets. Limited Logos is one of the top options along with Number Pieces and the Auto Patch versions. There are college-themed releases, as well, but these are not as popular.
Any Premium Hakeem Olajuwon Autographs
Rounding out the list, the many premium Panini NBA products offer great designs for Hakeem Olajuwon autograph card collectors. Top options include Flawless, Immaculate and National Treasures.