Item examined: 1985-86 Hakeem Olajuwon Houston Rockets Home Game Worn Jersey

The following information was gathered via the MEARS Jersey Grading and Authentication Worksheet, copyright 2005-2008. Hologram #308146 was issued. Our methods included the physical examination of the jersey, recording detailed information via the worksheet, comparing the information to our database, preparing full scale (1:1 ratio) color prints for examination, photographing of actual jersey for use for imagery analysis, using a light table and magnified light source to determine originality and check for alterations, comparing fabric and lettering to a common player jersey from the same relative timeframe, and finally preparing the completed letter of opinion.

Jersey style was issued to be worn during 1985-86 , Hakeem Olajuwon’s 2nd NBA season (68 games) and verified via enclosed color photo. Due to the dating of the Sand Knit tag 1985, (MEARS database 1977-87), style of the font, (34-no serifs), and the lack of NBA shoulder logo, (introduced 1986), this jersey is dated to the 1985-86 season.

To establish style, MEARS evaluated the following images (copies included):

MEARS 1984 Rawlings Rockets Home Olajuwon- serifed numbers

MEARS 1985 Rawlings Rockets Home Olajuwon-non serfied numbers

MEARS 1986 Sand Knit Rockets Road Olajuwon-non serfied numbers, NBA Logo shoulder

To establish the Rawlings tag (measures 1 15/16” x 2 ¾”) was from 1985, we compared it to the following jerseys from the same year:

MEARS 1985 Nets Road Same Rawlings tag

MEARS 1985 Nets Home Same Rawlings tag

MEARS 1985 Rockets Same Rawlings tag

All three examined 1985 NBA jersey tags were consistent with respect to design to MEARS #308146.

To verify the size 44, we examined all other Olajuwon jerseys that have entered the market. Items used for comparison were:

1984 Rawlings Rockets Olajuwon size 42

1990 Champion Rockets Olajuwon size 46

1991 Champion Rockets Olajuwon size 46

Therefore, without other known examples from 1985, this jersey falls within an acceptable range of sizes to be worn by Olajuwon during the 1984-91 timeframe.

Inspection with both the magnified light source and table revealed this jersey is all original and exhibits solid moderate game wear. The lettering shows wear around the edges of the anchor stitching. The Rawlings Size 44 tag also shows wear and puckering.

On the inside seam is the “Rawlings, Adult 44, Made in U.S.A. for care see reverse” tag. A second tag is found which reads, “2 inch, extra length”.

Therefore, based on the manufacture and tag style (1985), type of numeral font (non-serifed), lack of NBA shoulder logo (pre 1986), and examination of moderate game wear, MEARS was able to attribute this jersey to be issued and worn by Akeem Olajuwon during the 1985-86 season. The jersey was awarded the grade of MEARS A10.


Troy R. Kinunen