After retiring from the NBA, Hakeem Olajuwon embarked on an incredibly successful real estate career

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By every metric, Hakeem Olajuwon had a spectacular NBA career. He spent almost his entire 18-year career with the Houston Rockets. Along the way, he formed 12 All-Star teams, 12 All-NBA teams, won an MVP award and was two-time Defensive Player of the Year. He also led the Rockets to consecutive titles in 1994 and 1995, earning two Finals MVPs in the process.

Olajuwon was rewarded with a Hall of Fame nod for his strong play. He was also named to the NBA’s top 50 list of players, selected by former players and coaches, general managers and media representatives.

After leaving the league, Olajuwon only continued to impress … just in a different arena. Instead of dominating the basketball court, he rocks the real estate world.

Bryan Bedder / Getty Images

Olajuwon started investing his toes in real estate while he was still playing. At the height of his career in the late 1990s and early 2000s, he took a portion of his $ 14-16 million annual salary and set it aside for real estate investment. He ended up making just over $ 110 million over the course of his career.

While many former athletes try their hand at real estate, Olajuwon is taking a different approach to the industry because of his beliefs. As a Muslim, Hakeem does not borrow money for his purchases (it is against Islamic law to pay or charge interest). This can make shopping a bit more expensive, but it also shows that there is no credit risk. This strategy also puts Olajuwon in a better position in falling markets, when debt-laden borrowers could be pinched by interest payments.

By 2006, just four years after his retirement, Olajuwon’s 25 investments had grown to over $ 100 million.

Olajuwon has chosen to invest in Houston – where he claims to have the “home advantage”.

He specializes in the purchase of development-ready real estate through public improvements such as stadiums or train stations. For example, he buys large vacant lots near traffic routes and popular motorway exits. In November 2006, he bought 41 acres of land near NASA’s Johnson Space Center and turned it into a retirement home. He owns parking garages, residential complexes, commercial buildings and single-family houses. He bought the former Federal Reserve Bank building in Houston and converted it into a mosque. He owns the city’s former World Trade Center building not far from Minute Made Park.

And as mentioned earlier, he does not use any borrowed money in any of these purchases. He only buys real estate with funds that he actually controls. No debt.

On a New York Times profile, Hakeem stated:

“I’ve been blessed so far to be able to work with my own capital, which gives me the ability to decide when to sell rather than having a bank loan over my head that in some cases can force you to sell.” even if you may not be ready for it yet. “

Today, Olajuwon divides his time between Houston and Jordan. He will keep looking for investment opportunities – and his properties will continue to appreciate in value.

These real estate investments have resulted in Hakeem Olajuwon having a net worth of …

$ 300 million

That’s enough to make him the seventh richest NBA player in the world.

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