Basketball News

June 30, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

OKC-Wallpaper-Mohammed-1280x1024In National Basketball Association news, Oklahoma City Thunder issued the following press release regarding center Nazr Mohammed:

The Oklahoma City Thunder have signed center Nazr Mohammed to a contract extension, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. Per team policy, the terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“We are pleased to be able to keep Nazr in the Thunder family,” said Presti. “He is a valuable part of our organization both on and off the floor. His professionalism, experience, and on-court play have had a positive impact on our young and evolving roster.”  The six foot ten inch Mohammed owns career averages of 6.9 points, 5.4 rebounds in 17.9 minutes in 771 career NBA games.

In other NBA news, Iranian-American center Hamed Haddadi received a qualifying offer from the Memphis Grizzlies, making him a restricted free agent this offseason. The Grizzlies will now have the right to match any contract offers Haddadi receives from other teams this offseason. The qualifying offer will pay Haddadi $2 million for the 2011-12 season if he doesn’t sign a new deal this summer.

The seven foot two inch Haddadi just finished his third season with the Grizzlies. He originally signed with Memphis as a free agent on August 28th, 2008. This past season he averaged a career-high .517 shooting percentage in 31 games, and he developed a bit of a cult following among fans for his energetic play and hustle. However, the start of the next NBA season, let alone the start of the offseason, is in doubt with an impending owner-imposed lockout that is likely to take effect July 1st.

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NBA and NHL Draft Results

June 30, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

Ottawa Spirit Rug c2011

In last week’s National Hockey League draft, the Ottawa Senators selected Iranian-Swedish center Mika Zibanejad with the number six selection in the first round. Senators General Manager Bryan Murray told the Ottawa Citizen that Zibanejad will get every opportunity to make the parent club this very next season. Zibanejad is currently taking part in Ottawa’s annual developmental camp.

The National Basketball Association draft was also held last week. Turkish center Enes Kanter went very high in the first round, as he was selected by the Utah Jazz with the third selection overall despite numerous rumors that had him going with Minnesota’s number two selection. Kanter will join fellow Turkish center Mehmet Okur in Utah. Later in the first round, Morehead State University power forward Kenneth Faried was taken with the number 22 pick by the Denver Nuggets.

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Shaquille O’Neal Retires from Basketball

June 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

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Shaquille O’Neal laughs while telling a story during his announcement of his retirement from the National Basketball Association (NBA) at a news conference at his home in Windermere, Florida June 3, 2011.

REUTERS/Scott Audette

Basketball star Shaquille O’Neal, 39, made his retirement official this past week. Saying those words made his pro career full-circle, because it all ended at his home in a suburb of Orlando, the city where his pro days began when the Magic made him the No. 1 pick in 1992. “Never thought this day would come,” O’Neal said. “Father Time has finally caught up with Shaquille O’Neal.”

He indicated that not only will he not return, but he will not coach anyone but his three sons. His career ends with 28,596 points, 13,099 rebounds, 15 All-Star selections, four championships and three NBA Finals MVP awards. He had a $1.4 million option to return to the Boston Celtics next season, but he said he did not want to hold up the team’s plans several months if he needs Achilles surgery.”I’m the luckiest guy in the world,” O’Neal said.

O’Neal was so moved by Hurricane Katrina that not only did he arrange for tractor-trailers to bring supplies to storm-ravaged New Orleans, he personally went to oversee distribution efforts. And after that, Shaq considered signing with the New Orleans Hornets, thinking his mere presence in the city would help recovery efforts even more, but the deal simply fell through. “This just didn’t happen,” his college coach Dale Brown said. “The other thing that’s very obvious to me is that this should be a beacon, a beacon light for all young people watching this.”

He was grateful for the Los Angeles Lakers for planning to retire his number 34. “I would like to thank the Laker organization for thinking of me,” O’Neal said on ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning,” adding he spoke Thursday with Lakers owner Jerry Buss and vice president Jeannie Buss. O’Neal also said on Stephen A. Smith’s radio show that, if elected, he would prefer to enter the Hall of Fame as a Laker.

In the interview, he stated that he believes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to be the best to ever play the center position. And, excluding himself from the conversation, he considers Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson to be among the top five centers of all time. “Just to have my name mentioned next to those guys is a blessing,” O’Neal said.

His immediate future is uncertain. He’ll likely work in television, but his health comes first. Injuries derailed him mightily this season with the Celtics, and if his injured Achilles’ doesn’t improve soon, surgery may be an option. “I’ve got to get that right,” O’Neal said Friday before the throng of media at his home, “before I go into the next chapter.”

O’Neal said he leaves with some regrets, foremost among them not being able to reach 30,000 points. And while everyone knew what he would say on Friday, he was anxious, something his mother gently chided him for afterward. He was asked toward the end of the ceremony what advice he would give to players today. “Be leaders,” O’Neal said, “and not followers.”

“It’s time for what’s next,” O’Neal said. Perhaps Hajj is next for Shaquille, as he expressed in an interview with Turkish television last year. O’Neal’s mother is a Baptist and stepfather a Muslim. However, in 2002, the Los Angeles Times identified O’Neal as being Muslim and quoted him as saying, “It’s a Muslim thing,” with regard to the greetings he exchanged with opposing player Hedo Turkoglu before each game of that year’s Western Conference Finals series. The newspaper also quoted Turkoglu as saying that he was not surprised at the gesture from O’Neal “because Muslim people support each other.” Best of luck in whatever you do, Shaquille.

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Al-Farouq Aminu: The Chief Has Arrived

May 13, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

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By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

Al-Farouq Aminu represents the greatest hope for the Muslim world in the upcoming National Basketball Association draft of college players, to be held in New York City next month. Aminu just completed his junior season at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. And, he is currently projected to be a top 10 pick in the draft. Al-Farouq grew up in suburban Atlanta, Georgia, and after an illustrious career at Norcross High School, he was given the prestigious honor of being named the state of Georgia’s “Mr. Basketball.” Rivals.com rated him the top small forward coming out of high school. And, he played in the 2008 McDonald’s All-Star Game for the nation’s best high school basketball talent.

The son of Aboubakar and Anjirlic Aminu, Al-Farouq and family are reportedly descendents of Nigerian kings. They are establishing themselves as kings of basketball as well. His brother Alade, 3 years his elder, played for Georgia Tech University and currently plays in the NBA. And, their 11-year-old younger brother, Al-Majid, appears to be following in their basketball footsteps as well. Alade told the Winston-Salem Journal, “I think he’s going to be the best Aminu.”

At 6 feet 9 inches and 215 lbs, Al-Farouq Aminu is surprisingly agile for his size. NBADraft.net describes him as, “a huge leaper with freakish athleticism, explosiveness and solid length, Aminu uses these 3 strengths to make him an excellent rebounder and defender.” With a 7 feet 2 inch wing-span, he demonstrates tremendous reach and shot-blocking ability. And, his lateral quickness is such that he can also guard smaller, faster players, while still having the strength and size to bang with the big boys.

A blemish on Al-Farouq’s record came just prior to his high school graduation in 2008. Through a combination of boredom, peer pressure, and teenage bravado, he and two friends fired a BB gun at an Atlanta woman. Aminu had nothing close to a criminal record prior, and has had no brushes with the law since. And, his remorse and stellar record were so strong that the woman herself requested leniency for the boys, and the charges were reduced to three misdemeanors. Al-Farouq and his two friends were given probation. He still remembers the impact of that brush with the law, and admits to becoming more of an independent thinker as a result. “…I guess it humbled me even more. It doesn’t matter who you are. The world looks at you just the same,” he told the Winston-Salem Journal.
Al-Farouq is a good enough basketball player to begin his professional career after only his sophomore year of college. But with the dedication he has shown on the court, and as a Muslim, the communications major will, by all indications, be returning at some point to complete his degree. Draftexpress.com asked him what a typical off-season day for him was like. He responded, “I pray, work out in the morning, and then have a pretty normal day.” That is the type of answer we would like to hear from all of our kids. And when Al-Farouq’s parents watch him take the stage next month after being selected early in the NBA Draft, they will be seeing further attestation to the translated meaning of the name Al-Farouq: The Chief has arrived!

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Rasheed Wallace the Lone Muslim Remaining in NBA Playoffs

May 6, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

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By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

And then there was one.

A handful of Muslim players had brought their teams to the National Basketball Association playoffs. But, Nazr Muhammad and DeSagana Diop could not get their Charlotte Bobcats out of the first round. And while Mehmet Okur’s Utah Jazz team is still alive, battling the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round, Okur himself is out for the remainder of the playoffs due an Achilles tendon injury incurred in the first round. So, Rasheed Wallace now stands alone as the only Muslim still playing.

Rasheed Wallace is in his first year with the Boston Celtics, but he has achieved success at every step of his career. The 6 foot 11 inch Wallace had spent the previous 5 ½ seasons with the Detroit Pistons, having led them to an NBA title in 2004 and an NBA runner-up spot in 2005. Prior to that, he starred for the Portland Trailblazers, and took them to the Western Conference finals in 1999 and 2000. He has been a four time NBA all star. And, in college, he led the University of North Carolina to the Final Four in his sophomore season.

Wallace and the Celtics currently have their hands full with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round of the playoffs. But, Rasheed has seen all situations at this point in his illustrious career. There is no reason not to expect continued success.

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