You have to make the most out of every opportunity that comes your way because tomorrow is never promised. Hakeem Olajuwon is a hard worker, and had he not become an entrepreneur early enough in his career, we would be talking about his riches-to-rags story today. Fortunately, he had the foresight to know he would not be a basketball player forever and with his dealings, Hakeem Olajuwon’s net worth stands at $200 million. Let’s check out how he has managed to rake in such a hefty sum.
It is hard to believe that someone who could not dunk a basketball as a teenager ended up dunking so effortlessly that his college coach thought it looked like a dream and the basketball career eventually earned him more than $107 million in salary. Hakeem did not play basketball until he was 17 and before then, he was involved in soccer which played a huge role in his basketball career in enabling him to balance his size, giving him some footwork as well as the strength needed to be the legend he came to be.
Hakeem is one of the best centers of all-time in NBA, and he played all but the last season with the Rockets and culminated his career in 2002 by playing for the Toronto Raptors. When he signed with the Rockets in 1986 in an eight-year contract, the contract had him earning more than $23 million but Hakeem knew his worth and wanted to renegotiate his contract in 1988 after learning that David Robinson was making more as a rookie than Hakeem would earn in his sixth year, according to Los Angeles Times. In 2001, he rejected a three-year deal with the Rockets worth $13 million in favor of Raptors’ $18 million three-year contract but ended up playing only one year after a severe back injury had him retiring from the court.
Hakeem Olajuwon has Nigerian blood, and he grew up in Lagos, where the colorful fabrics inspired his love for fashion. So much was his passion that every time he spotted fabric, he wanted to make something unique that would make him a trendsetter because he hates wearing what everyone else.
In 2011, Hakeem launched his clothing line named DR34M which refers to the nickname he obtained in his basketball years, The Dream. Hakeem designs his suits, and even in his rookie years, he would pick out fabric from fabric stores and determine what he wants to make from them. His favorite fabrics are linen and cashmere, but he does not use them in the clothing line, instead preferring cotton since it is breathable, as he revealed on Chron.
He bought a mansion in Clear Lake and turned it into a boutique for his high-end clothing line, and he only stocks designer brands like Prada, Gucci, Coach, among others. Hakeem uses the upstairs for his designing because he wants to do the design himself. When it was opened, getting a pair of jeans or polo neck shirt from the mansion, needed one to make an appointment but it was later opened to the public and the online store also made the clothes accessible. Also, to ensure that his clients do not deal with traffic, Hakeem ensures that the helicopter service is available, as disclosed by KHOU. With jeans retailing at $135, T-shirts at $55 and Polo neck shirts at $ 85, Hakeem is bound to make more than a modest living from his clothing collection.
Investing in real estate is all about timing, and when Chuck Hayes talked to The Guardian, he said that Hakeem has the timing of a vulture both on-court and in real estate which has resulted in him making over $100 million in profits from the trade.
However, not everyone had the insight that Hakeem had when he invested in real estate because some thought he was making a mistake by buying overpriced and already developed land, but Hakeem always makes a profit despite paying hefty figures for the properties. In 1998 he fought other bidders to win a 10-year lease for the World Trade Center for $400,000 per year. He wanted to turn the building into a hotel or condominium but being a businessman, all the scenarios he played out in his head proved unviable so, in 2000, he sold it for more than $8 million to a restaurateur, Tilman Fertitta, which made for a handsome profit.
His Muslim faith limits the business deals he makes, since he is not allowed to sell alcohol or pay, or charge interest in his property, Hakeem has to exercise caution in all his undertakings. Despite such limitations, he has been able to run a successful real estate firm because they also help to minimize the risk. According to Houston Business Journal, he has earned the respect of commercial real estate services like Cushman & Wakefield because he does not delay closing his deals citing lack of capital with the company’s Executive Vice President, David Cook, describing him as an astute real estate investor.
Being a professional basketball has its perks because companies want to make money off your celebrity status, and you can do the same, much to the benefit of your bank account. Hakeem’s endorsement deals may not come close to other African American professional basketball players, but he still made a considerable amount from them. According to The Guardian, Michael Jordan made $35 million in endorsement contracts, Shaquille O’Neal had received $15 million by the time he turned 24, but Hakeem’s contracts only amounted to $3.5 million by 1995.
Some of the companies that wanted Hakeem to help increase the sale of their shoes include Etonic, LA Gear, and Spalding. Hakeem signed on with Etonic in his rookie year, and he must have done a good job because, in 2014, the company still wanted to collaborate with him in creating an apparel line footwear and accessory line for Dream Collection. If Zion Williamson could make $10 million per year from a shoe deal and Kevin Durant received $60 million for seven years according to UPI, Hakeem’s multi-year endorsement contracts also made him a huge chunk of money.