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Hakeem Olajuwon and Dalia Asafi Had Prearranged Islamic Marriage When She Was 18

Bettina Dizon
May 25, 2020
10:30 A.M.
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Hakeem Olajuwon met his then-18-year-old bride only after their parents arranged their marriage over 20 years ago.

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Having prearranged marriages is a norm in the Islamic tradition, and as part of the religion, Hakeem Olajuwon wed his wife, Dalia Asafi, through such custom.

OLAJUWON’S PREARRANGED MARRIAGE

In Islamic belief, it is normal for a woman to marry at a young age compared to Western culture. Asafi was only 18 years old when she became a bride to the Houston Rockets star.

Hakeem Olajuwon holds the game ball prior to Game 6 of the 2019 World Series between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 in Houston, Texas. | Source: Getty Images

Hakeem Olajuwon holds the game ball prior to Game 6 of the 2019 World Series between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 in Houston, Texas. | Source: Getty Images

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Although the age may seem young, women in the Islam faith were wiser and more mature because of their values, teachings, and background.

“There is no dating process, no boyfriends and girlfriends in Islam,” Olajuwon shared. “Families meet, talk, get to know one another. Then the marriage is arranged.”

Hakeem Olajuwon poses for a photo with his wife in front of a fountain in Houston, Texas.| Source: Getty Images

Hakeem Olajuwon poses for a photo with his wife in front of a fountain in Houston, Texas.| Source: Getty Images

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The two-time NBA champion worshiped at the Houston mosque where Asafi’s father went to for years but never had a glimpse of his bride nor his mother-in-law because of the gender-separated sections.

During the time of their marriage, Olajuwon had an eight-year-old daughter from a previous relationship. Their ceremony only accommodated family members from the bride and groom.

Jordan is one of the greatest basketball players in history who is already retired, whereas Curry still has a lot of time to spend on the court.

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OLAJUWON’S CAREER

Olajuwon, who was born in Nigeria, was recruited by the University of Houston to play basketball at the age of 17.

Since then, he became the first pick in the 1984 NBA draft for the Houston Rockets and had a successful career in the game.

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The height of his career came in the mid-’90s as he was dubbed the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year from 1992 until 1994 and the Most Valuable Player in 1993 until 1994 --- the only athlete in NBA history to have both titles in the same year.

In 1997, Olajuwon was honored as one of the 50 Greatest NBA Players of All Time, after leading his team to victory on several occasions.

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PICKED BY MICHAEL JORDAN

Michael Jordan recently mentioned Olajuwon when asked who he would pick as part of his dream team, together with Magic Johnson, James Worthy, and Scottie Pippen.

Jordan also gave Warriors superstar Stephen Curry a special mention by saying, “He’s still a great player. Not a Hall of Famer yet, though.”

Michael Jordan attends a press conference for the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Air Jordan Shoe in Paris on June 12, 2015 in Paris, France. | Source: Getty Images

Michael Jordan attends a press conference for the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Air Jordan Shoe in Paris on June 12, 2015 in Paris, France. | Source: Getty Images

Jordan is one of the greatest basketball players in history who is already retired, whereas Curry still has a lot of time to spend on the court.

Curry averages 23.5 points, 6.6 assists, and 4.5 rebounds in a single game and has been one of the most recognized players in the past decade.

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