The Dream honoured

FRANK ZICARELLI

, Last Updated: 2:36 PM ET

At the urging of Vince Carter, the Raptors went out and acquired Hakeem Olajuwon during the summer of 2001, a period when Raptors fever was at its highest.

Olajuwon never lived up to his Dream nickname, a victim of age and an eroding body, but he left his mark nonetheless.

Olajuwon still holds the Raptors record for most defensive rebounds in one half when he hauled down 11 in the opening half of a Dec. 6 tip in Milwaukee.

"He's the best post player I've ever seen and ever competed against,'' Rasho Nesterovic said yesterday, a day after Olajuwon was named to basketball's Hall of Fame.

"Hakeem was a phenomenal player."

Olajuwon's Dream Shake mesmerized opposing big men like Nesterovic, but sadly his game was in decline when then-GM Glen Grunwald brought Olajuwon to Toronto.

Regardless, Olajuwon does become the first player in Raptors history to be enshrined.

Back in 2001, the dream among hoops fans in Hogtown was that Olajuwon's presence represented the missing low-post ingredient necessary to push the Raptors deeper into the post-season.

Like many dreams, it went unfulfilled.

DIFFERENT FEEL

The Raptors wrapped up what many dubbed as another productive practice session yesterday.

Now comes the hard part of translating the hard work into a win.

When he stepped on to the practice floor on Monday, Jamario Moon could sense a different feel, something he noticed again yesterday.

"Everybody just seemed to be energized,'' Moon said. "I think everyone realizes we lost games we should have won and our frame of mind is just different."


Videos

Photos