NBA Hall of Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon said that he supports embattled Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry after Ferry was caught on a recorded conference call making racist remarks about now-Miami Heat forward Luol Deng.

Ferry took an indefinite leave of absence from the Hawks after saying that Deng has "got some African in him" during a call in June to discuss free agency matters with the Hawks' ownership.  Ferry also said about Deng, “He's like a guy who would have a nice store out front and sell you counterfeit stuff out of the back.”

Olajuwon said there was no need for Ferry to apologize to him.

“Those were not his words. He did not mean it,” Olajuwon said to the Houston Chronicle. “He was repeating something. I did not know what he meant. I don’t know what someone was thinking to say that. But those are not his words."

Olajuwon, who won two NBA titles with the Rockets, has been working with All-Star center Dwight Howard during training camp practice and said that he is primed for an outstanding season. 

“He has tremendous confidence. He is looking for an MVP year,” Olajuwon said. “Just the demeanor, the confidence level, the way he played last year, I expect something great from him this year.”

The Rockets won 54 games last season, but they were bounced out in the first round of the playoffs in six games by the Portland Trailblazers.

Houston begins the regular season Oct. 28 on the road against the Los Angeles Lakers

- Scooby Axson

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