Professional Basketball Player: Hakeem Rollins

October 12, 2012


Meet Hakeem Rollins, aka Hakeem the Dream.


We became friends our junior year of college at the University of Washington. I refer to him as Dream Team or simply Dreamy. (That’s how you’ll be referring to him after you drool over these images, ladies.) 😉 Hakeem is a 6’8” Greek god basketball player. He hooped for the Huskies, and since we graduated in 2006, he’s been playing overseas – in Macedonia, Uruguay, Argentina for several seasons, and currently Switzerland. Back in June I contacted Jeremy Daniel Photography because I was totally diggin’ his sports images and wanted to work with him. He said that he would like to add a basketball player to his portfolio, and if I could get someone to come in, he’d let me use the studio and give me pointers. Um – me? Find a basketball player who wants his picture taken? Just tell me how many you need, Jeremy. 😉

I immediately thought of Hakeem, but I figured it’d be a long shot because he’s not in Seattle too often these days. Miraculously, he was going to be in town the same week Jeremy and I scheduled the shoot. Woot woot! I chose to edit all of these photos as black & white to help draw attention to contour lines, but also because I think they look classy and more powerful. I hope you like!


Back in college, my best friend had a poster of a guy with a basketball net draped around his neck…it was hotness…so I haaaad to try it with Hakeem.

Nike, meet your new poster child for…EVERYTHING.

I tend to come up with super corny lines when I’m around Hakeem. One time I told him, “Dream, if you’re ever in a movie fightin’ bad guys and it’s the scene were you’re about to rip them to shreds, your tagline should be, ‘They call me Dream…and I’m your worst nightmare.'” (Seeeee??? Told you I was corny!)

Whenever Hakeem is back in town, we always make a point to get in at least one basketball workout together. I’m really good at rebounding during shooting drills, high-fiving after free throws, and offering general encouragement. (Okay, so I participate in the drills, too…) Quite often, Hakeem has to demonstrate the drill we’re about to do, because I either haven’t done it before, or I haven’t done it for over a decade. The ball handling drills are particularly disastrous for me, and it’s hard not to feel embarrassed -but I have to keep reminding myself that basketball is his job, and it’s okay for him to be (way way way) better than me. 🙂 This is him about to cross you up…you can’t tell me that stare-down isn’t a bit unnerving…

Inspired by the MJ poster.

How’d that shirt get there??

Hakeem’s doppelgänger is Dwight Howard…pretty sure Mr. Howard would head straight to the weight room after seeing these images…

I also just started a facebook fan page for Hakeem…here’s one of the cover photos I made…what do you think? 🙂 Be sure to like his page!

I’m going to end with this image because, to me, this is the real Dream Team…he’s not as hard or scary as his muscles make him seem (OFF the basketball court, anyway). He’s a really smart guy. He’s humble. He’s witty. He’s curious and inquisitive. He’s a very good listener (I’ve Skyped his ear off plenty of times), and never judges me, which are two of the things I appreciate most about him. This image is of him about to apply baby oil (makes muscles really *pop!* in photos!), and even though you can’t see his eyes, his expression is of the thoughtful man that is one of my dearest friends. It’s just so simple and candid. It makes me smile.

Oh, and this is when he’s rubbin’ it in…can you tell he’s laughing at himself a bit? Atta boy, Dreamy.

Dream Team, thank you so much for being my super model for a day. When your inbox gets flooded with requests for modeling gigs, I fully expect you to tell those companies that you’ll work with them only under the condition that I’m your photographer. Deal?