It’s been speculated this week that Rudy Tomjanovich, the newest member of the Houston Rockets to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, would be choosing former Rockets and already Hall members Calvin Murphy and Hakeem Olajuwon as his presenters. And it’s now officially been confirmed by Fox’s Mark Berman.
Rudy Tomjanovich says he spoke w/ Hakeem Olajuwon (@DR34M) today & Hakeem agreed to be 1 of his presenters when Rudy is inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in August: “I asked him if he would do the presenting and he said ‘I would be honored.’ It’s the..” pic.twitter.com/L8PVWyAYer— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) April 11, 2020
Olajuwon was Rudy T’s top guy during his time coaching in Houston, and it was the perfect marriage between a new coach and a supremely talented player who never before could quite make it to the promised land.
Tomjanovich re-arranged the offense with Hakeem as the focal point and surrounded him with three-point shooters who could do most of their damage when Dream was doubled (or tripled). It was an early version of the three-point attack you see in today’s NBA, but it came about because of Rudy T’s trust in his superstar, and his ability to get Hakeem to finally extend that trust to his teammates.
It’s only fitting then that Olajuwon is alongside his former mentor for Tomjanovich’s MUCH overdue Hall of Fame induction.
Calvin Murphy, like Tomjanovich, was a life-long Rocket as a player, and they both came into the league at the same time in the 1970-1971 season when the franchise was still playing in San Diego.
Both players stayed attached to the franchise after their playing days, with Murphy working primarily in media, while Rudy T first became a scout and then an assistant coach before serving as the interim head coach following the firing of Don Chaney in the middle of the 1992 season.
Tomjanovich would take on the permanent position at season’s end, and back-to-back titles later, the rest is history. He would go on to win a gold medal as coach of the 2000 USA Olympic Men’s Basketball Team, and he also spent 41 games as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers before retiring. While you can still catch Murphy on Rockets home broadcasts.
These guys are teammates and lifelong friends, and I can’t think of two better people to introduce Rudy T to the Hall of Fame than Murphy and Hakeem.