Olajuwon excited for 'new chapter'

NEW YORK -- Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon has been chosen as the NBA's ambassador to Africa by the league.

The native of Nigeria will work closely with the NBA Africa office in Johannesburg and have a prominent role in the development of basketball on the continent through various events and activities.

"Basketball has given me so much in life," Olajuwon told NBA.com. "In this new role I am looking forward to impacting young Africans and utilizing the power of sport to help change lives in what is an exciting new chapter in my career."

Olajuwon was the first pick in the 1984 draft and led the Houston Rockets to two NBA titles. He was a 12-time All-Star and the 1994 league MVP.

Amadou Gallo Fall, the NBA's vice president for development in Africa, said Wednesday in a statement that the league is elated "one of the greatest to ever play the game, a son of Africa, and a legend of Hakeem's stature will officially represent the NBA in Africa."

More than 30 players from Africa have reached the NBA since 1984. The league opened its office in Johannesburg in 2010.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.