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Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler react to Rudy Tomjanovich’s Hall of Fame nod

clyde drexler, hakeem olajuwon, rudy tomjanovich, rockets

One of the welcome surprises of the Basketball Hall of Fame’s class of 2020 was the inclusion of former Houston Rockets head coach Rudy Tomjanovich — an induction several pundits thought was overdue. Tomjanovich was a finalist for the hall in 2017 and 2018, though not in 2019.

Two of his former Rockets players, Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler, reacted to the news.

“It’s no question it’s well-deserved. I’m very, very happy it finally came true. I’ve been hoping it would happen for a long time. What he has done for the game of basketball speaks for itself. I’m proud of him.” Olajuwon told Marc Berman of Fox 26 Houston.

“Finally, Rudy T gets in the Hall of Fame. He gets his just due as a coach.” Drexler mentioned. “He could’ve been in as a player as well. He was a phenomenal player.”

Tomjanovich was a five-time All-Star as a player in the 1970s before coaching Houston from 1992-2003. Led by Olajuwon and, later on, Drexler, the Rockets won the franchise’s only two titles in 1994 and 1995.

In addition to his iconic “don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion” speech after winning a title with the Rockets, Tomjanovich helmed the gold medal-winning Team USA squad in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

“Congratulations to Rudy T on his well-deserved and long overdue selection to the Hall of Fame,” Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta said. “I admired Rudy’s tenacity as a player and loved watching his attention to detail in coaching the back-to-back championship teams in the 90’s. Heart of a champion!”

Rudy Tomjanovich joins Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Tamika Catchings, Kim Mulkey, Barbara Stevens, Eddie Sutton, and Patrick Baumann in the prolific class.