Abi Olajuwon: A Chip Off the Old Pillar

Muslim Matters

Abi Olajuwon: A Chip Off the Old Pillar

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

340x Her full name is Alon Abisola Arisicate Ajoke Olajuwon, with the full name meaning “born in wealth, and loved by all.” But just call her Abi. And oh by the way, her father just happens to be Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon, one of the greatest Muslim athletes of all time. And Abi’s career has been a dream as well so far, masha`Allah.

She was born in Houston, Texas, but eventually went to high school in Southern California, where she led the Marlborough School to three consecutive Southern Section titles. She earned four varsity letters during her time there, and by her senior season she earned McDonald’s All-American status in 2006, making her one of the elite high school basketball players in the country. She then took her considerable skills to perennial power Oklahoma University.  But what drew her to Oklahoma? It was the family values of the coach, Sherri Coale. “When I met her in person, I saw how intertwined her family and basketball were. They weren’t separated; they coincided. Everything was together… There was no separation between her family and basketball, how that family environment was. And then, her seriousness when it came to the basketball perspective and practice, I knew that was something that I wanted. I know that when my four years are up, I don’t need to worry that I’m not still part of that family,” Abi told Sooners Illustrated. There, she gradually worked her way into the starting line-up, and finally ended up starting every game at the center position during her senior season. Also in her senior season, she led the team to the Final Four of the Women’s NCAA Tournament.

She ultimately was drafted by the Chicago Sky of the Women’s National Basketball Association in the 3rd round, 28th over all, in the 2010 draft. So far with Chicago, she is only averaging 7 minutes per game, but she is once again working her way into a prominent role with the team.

Abi’s mother, Lita Richardson, is an entertainment executive and attorney, having been a vice-president for Magic Johnson Enterprises and now a movie and television producer and agent for several prominent stars including Vivica Fox. Abi herself graduated with a degree in Broadcast Journalism in May.

Her father Hakeem still lives in Houston, but he is still close to his daughter and provides welcome counsel on basketball and life. “We talk about basketball. Of course, it’s harder because we don’t live in the same state,” she told Sooners Illustrated. “My parents are always very supportive of my talents. If I ever need anything, there’s never a hesitation. He’s a very active part of my life at school and otherwise.” To hear such a young person focus on family values is a blessed thing. That shows a wealth of wisdom, that cannot help but be loved by all.


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