Beef History: Hakeem Olajuwon vs. the Houston Rockets

BFH THUMB Hakeem NB.0 - Beef History: Hakeem Olajuwon vs. the Houston Rockets

When contract negotiations go bad. And then get worse.

When’s the best time to ask your boss for a $15 million contract extension? For most of us, never. For Hakeem Olajuwon, it was the winter of 1992. Sure, the Rockets weren’t doing so hot annnnnd had just fired coach Don Chaney, but Hakeem was making less than the league’s other elite centers, so what’s the harm in asking? Beef? Is beef the harm in asking?

Yes.

First, owner Charlie Thomas and GM Steve Patterson refused to negotiate with him. Then Olajuwon strained his hamstring, and the Rockets brass was like “Oh yeah right, you’re not hurt, you’re just refusing to play until we negotiate your contract.” They suspended Olajuwon and took to the press with their fake-injury allegations.

Hakeem fired back in the press, really going after Thomas and Patterson’s intelligence. The word “stupid” was used quite a bit. Oh, and he also demanded a trade.

The 92-93 season rolled around and Hakeem did not get traded, though he did eventually land a contract on par with David Robinson and Patrick Ewing. Despite the ugly months, Hakeem managed to find happiness with Houston, it helped that ownership and GMs changed. He even went on to win a couple rings with the Rockets.

So … lemme just weight all the info in this beef … is it fair to conclude there is no bad time to ask your boss for a $15 million raise? Without further ado, I’m assuming my boss is reading this, can I have a $15 million raise? Don’t worry, I’m prepared to have my integrity maligned in the press as long as it works out as well for me as it did Hakeem Olajuwon (rings, cash, posters of me in children’s bedroom, etc).

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