Hakeem Olajuwon Interested in Ownership Stake in Houston Rockets

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 1, 2017

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 3:  NBA Legend, Hakeem Olajuwon waves to the crowd during the Yao Ming jersey retirement ceremony during the Chicago Bulls game against the Houston Rockets on February 3, 2017 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Houston Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon expressed a desire to take an ownership stake in the team.

"Many groups now have called me and want me involved," Olajuwon said Tuesday, per ESPN.com's Mark Woods. "With two of the groups, I'm doing my background check to see if that is a possibility. Just an association would be great. I'm still with the organization now. I have a contract with the Rockets, not to be in an ownership position. But if the opportunity opens itself, it will be something great."

Rockets CEO Tad Brown announced in July that team owner Leslie Alexander is putting the Rockets up for sale. Alexander has owned the team since July 1993.

Olajuwon isn't the first former Rockets player to throw his name into the hat regarding an ownership stake.

"I'm working on it," Dikembe Mutombo said July 18, per Mark Berman of Fox 26. "I'm talking to a lot of people already since [Monday]. We'll see. I'm just talking to the people who can cut the check and they can make me be part of it. I'm working on that."

Bloomberg's Scott Soshnick also reported Tuesday that pop singer Beyonce, who's a native of Houston, is considering pursuing an ownership stake.

Olajuwon would be a fitting addition to any Rockets ownership group. No player has meant more to the franchise than the 54-year-old Hall of Famer.

He's the franchise leader in points (26,511), rebounds (13,382) and blocks (3,740), and he helped lead Houston to NBA titles in 1994 and 1995.

Whoever purchases the Rockets may end up spending a record fee for the team, eclipsing the $2 billion Steve Ballmer paid for the Los Angeles Clippers in 2014. The Houston Chronicle's Jerome Solomon reported last month the Rockets have a valuation ranging from $1.6 billion to $2 billion, and that number will likely rise in the event a bidding war is started.