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Splits 18

Hakeem Olajuwon’s NBA career was remarkable, regardless of the metrics. He spent almost all of his 18-year NBA career with the Houston Rockets. He was on 12 All-Star and 12 All-NBA teams, won an MVP Award, and was twice named Defensive Player-of-the-Year. He led the Rockets to back titles in 1994 and 1995, winning two Finals MVPs.

Olajuwon received a Hall of Fame nod for his solid play. He was also included on the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players List, which was selected by former players, coaches, general managers and media members. 

After retiring from the league, Olajuwon has only continued to impress… just in a different arena. Instead of dominating basketball, he is rocking the real-estate world.

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While still playing, Olajuwon began investing in real estate. In the late 1990s and early2000s, Olajuwon would take a portion of his $14-16million annual salary and put it aside for real-estate investments. His career earned him just over $110 million.

Many former athletes are interested in real estate. But Olajuwon’s faith is what makes him different. Hakeem is a Muslim and does not borrow money. It is against Islamic law for him to charge interest. This can make purchases more expensive but it also shows that he is not at risk of defaulting on his loans. This strategy puts Olajuwon in a better position during down markets, when debt-laden borrowers might be pinched by interest payment.

Olajuwon’s 25 investments grew to more than $100million in 2006, just four year after he retired.

Olajuwon has opted to invest in Houston — where he claims to have the “home court advantage.”

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He is a specialist in purchasing properties that are ready for development through public improvements such as stadiums and train stations. He buys large, undeveloped parcels of land close to highway exits and transportation lines. He bought a 41-acre tract of land near NASA’s Johnson Space Center in December 2006 and made it a retirement community. He owns parking lots, apartment complexes, commercial buildings, and single-family homes. He bought Houston’s Federal Reserve Bank Building and turned it into an Islamic Mosque. He is the owner of Minute Made Park’s former World Trade Center Building.

As we have already noted, he does not use borrowed money for any of his purchases. He only purchases properties with funds that he controls. No debt.

In a New York Times profile, Hakeem explained:

“I have been blessed thus far to be able to work with my own capital, which gives me the ability to decide when I want to sell as opposed to having a bank loan hanging over my head that in some cases, can force you to sell even though you may not be ready to.”

Today Olajuwon divides his time between Houston, Jordan and Dubai. He’ll keep looking for areas of opportunity to invest in — and his properties will only continue to increase in value.

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These real estate investments have allowed Hakeem Olajuwon to have a net worth of…

$300 million

This is enough to make him the seventh-richest NBA basketball player in the world.

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