Most Valuable Player of the 2015 Finals of the American National Basketball Association (NBA), Nigeria’s Festus Ezeli, has expressed his excitement at seeing compatriot Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon and Congolese Dikembe Mutombo dazzle in the Team Africa versus Rest of the World game played on Saturday in Johannesburg, South Africa. Olajuwon and Mutombo, two of the game’s legends, featured briefly for Team Africa in the exhibition game won 101-97 points by Rest of the World team.
Olajuwon in the famous No34 of the Houston Rockets and Mutombo in his old rainbow striped Denver Nuggets jersey, stepped onto court to the most rousing standing ovation.
There may even have been a few tears. Ezeli, who played for Team Africa along with another Nigerian Al Farouq Aminu, still couldn’t believe his eyes, even though he’d known beforehand the pair would be playing.
“I was so excited man, look at those guys, they could move too,” Ezeli, who was a part of last season’s NBA championship team, the Golden State Warriors, exclaimed. “Hakeem has still got some moves man, I would love to have him sign for any team I’m on.” Also, the fans could scarcely believe what they were seeing.
Though a combined age of 101 – Mutombo turned 49 last month and Olajuwon is 52 – they managed their way up and down the court effectively for the five or so minutes they played. Olajuwon provided the highlight of the game for the Africa team. First he blocked a Bradley Beal shot, then he provided a glimpse of the Olajuwon that helped the Houston Rockets win two NBA titles in the mid-1990s.
It may not have been a full “Dream Shake” as Rockets fans called it, but Olajuwon, looking more 22 than 52 for a few seconds, nudged aside Nikola Vucevic, then spun away and threw in a two-pointer that got this packed arena on its feet.
Watching from afar, Manchester City and Ivory Coast superstar Yaya Toure tweeted: “Maybe we can organise a @premierleague African Allstar game in Africa soon? I would love to be part of that! ?? #NBAAfricaGame.”