Hakeem Olajuwon tells ABC13 what Ramadan means to him and his family

STAFFORD, Texas (KTRK) -- The Islamic holy month Ramadan began on Monday evening across the U.S., and Hakeem Olajuwon, known as one of the greatest athletes in Houston history, took time to speak with Eyewitness News about why the holy Islamic celebration means so much to him and his family.

Throughout his career, he strictly observed Ramadan during the playing season. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is believed that the holy scripture, the Quran, was given to the Islamic Prophet Muhammad during this time.

The former NBA star spoke with ABC13 at the Brand Lane Islamic Center in Stafford. He was at the service with two of his sons. Olajuwon said though the pandemic put a strain on last year's celebration, it didn't break his spirit.

"Last Ramadan, everybody prayed in their own home," he said. "I think this year is different, maintain protocols, the face cover, (and) the distance." He continued saying that the start of it all is beyond thrilling and he looks forward to it.

"We pray five times a day so, it's frequent. (During) Ramadan, it's just intensified," he said. "It's always something that everybody looks forward to. I can enjoy much more now that I'm not playing ... I can enjoy my kids and my family."

Watch the full interview with Olajuwon in the video player above.

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