Michael Olowokandi
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Michael Olowokandi

Michael Olowokandi
Michael Olowokandi.jpg
Olowokandi with the Boston Celtics in 2006
Personal information
Born (1975-04-03) 3 April 1975 (age 45)
Lagos, Nigeria
NationalityNigerian
Listed height7 ft 0 in (2.13 m)
Listed weight270 lb (122 kg)
Career information
CollegePacific (1995-1998)
NBA draft1998 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1st overall
Selected by the Los Angeles Clippers
Playing career1998-2007
PositionCenter
Number34, 41
Career history
1999Kinder Bologna
1999-2003Los Angeles Clippers
2003-2006Minnesota Timberwolves
2006-2007Boston Celtics
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points4,135 (8.3 ppg)
Rebounds3,414 (6.8 rpg)
Blocks697 (1.4 bpg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Michael Olowokandi (born 3 April 1975) is a Nigerian former professional basketball player. Born in Lagos, Nigeria and raised in London, he played collegiately for the Pacific Tigers. Olowokandi was selected as the first pick in the 1998 NBA draft by the Los Angeles Clippers. He played professionally until 2007, when he was forced to retire due to severe hernia and knee injuries.

Due to his underwhelming career he is considered one of the biggest draft busts in NBA history.[1]

Early years

Olowokandi was born in Lagos, Nigeria, as the oldest of five children.[2] His father, Ezekiel, was a Nigerian diplomat.[2][3] His family moved to London when he was 4. Olowokandi has Nigerian citizenship and did not hold a British passport as of 2004.[4]

Olowokandi attended the Newlands Manor School in Seaford, East Sussex, where he set British age group records in long jump and triple jump and also played center midfield in football. Olowokandi had a height of 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) at age 16, growing six inches in two years. He first touched a basketball at the age of 17, and began playing basketball when he was 18.[5]

Olowokandi then entered Brunel University as a mechanical engineering major, where he was an athlete in track and field, cricket, and rugby union.[6][7] He had a tryout with the Thames Valley Tigers of the Budweiser Basketball League but did not receive a contract.[8]

College career

On April 3, 1995, on Olowokandi's 20th birthday, he opened the Peterson's Guide to American Colleges and Universities to a random page and landed on the University of the Pacific (UOP). Olowokandi called the UOP basketball office in hopes that he would be accepted to play basketball for the Pacific Tigers.[6] UOP assistant coach Tony Marcopulos answered the phone call and was stunned when informed of Olowokandi's height of 7 ft 1 in (2.16 m).[5] After being informed that there were no more available basketball scholarships in UOP, Olowokandi offered to pay for his schooling (about $23,000 annually) for two years.[5] He also called Georgetown University and Duke University but was informed they would not offer scholarships without sending a scout to see him.[5]

Olowokandi and Marcupulos spent hundreds of phone calls arranging credit transferral and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) eligibility, which was determined that Olowokandi had three seasons of college remaining.[5] When Olowokandi arrived in the United States in August 1995, he had not played a game of organised basketball or met the UOP coaches - Pacific head coach Bob Thomason joked, "I had told him on the phone that if he wasn't 7 foot I was going to put him right back on the plane."[5] Olowokandi had no understanding of basketball terminology and was in poor physical condition.[5] He frequently committed backcourt and traveling violations in his early games but persisted with his progression and committed to extended practice sessions.[5] During his sophomore season, he became a star for the team, averaging a team high 12.6 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks.[5]

During his junior year, Olowokandi led his team to the 1997 NCAA Tournament and as a senior he led the Tigers to the 1998 National Invitation Tournament. He averaged 22 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game his senior year and was the 1997-98 Big West Conference Player of the Year. He graduated from Pacific with a degree in Economics and had his No. 55 jersey retired by the university in 1998.[9][10]

Professional career

Los Angeles Clippers (1998-2003)

Olowokandi was considered to be a top two pick in the 1998 NBA draft due to his 7 ft 6 in (2.29 m) wingspan and "unlimited upside".[3] He was drafted with the first overall pick by the Los Angeles Clippers.[6][11] The Clippers had initially planned to draft eventual second pick Mike Bibby, but Elgin Baylor cited Olowokandi's work habits and off-season improvements as the swaying factors.[2] The start of the 1998-99 NBA season was hampered due to a lockout and the Clippers were not allowed to contact Olowokandi.[2] His agent, Bill Duffy, put Olowokandi in contact with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who trained together extensively during the 1998 offseason.[2] Olokowandi signed with Italian team Kinder Bologna on 5 January 1999 - only two days before the lockout was resolved.[12][13] In 3 regular season Italian League games played with Bologna, he averaged 4.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 0.3 assists in 17.3 minutes per game.[14] He also played for 3 games in the FIBA EuroLeague, where he averaged 10.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 0.3 assists in 21.3 minutes per game.[15] Bologna granted Olowokandi an early release to sign with the Clippers as he did not have a considerable impact and was poorly conditioned.[16] Olowokandi claimed that he felt misused by the team and did not have his offensive abilities utilised.[13]

Olowokandi signed with the Clippers on January 29, 1999.[16] During his rookie season, he averaged 8.9 points and 7.9 rebounds in 45 games played for the Clippers.[17] Olowokandi underwent surgery on his left knee on May 11, 1999, in what would be the first of multiple knee surgeries.[17]

In the 2001-02 season, Olowokandi saw the most playing time of his career and averaged 11.1 points and 8.8 rebounds. He averaged 17 points a game and 11 rebounds during the last 20 games of the season and was considered one of the biggest free agents in the 2002-03 free agency class.[18][19][20] On April 5, 2002, Olowokandi was fined $50,000 by the Clippers for "behavior detrimental to the team" after he criticized teammates for a loss against the Utah Jazz.[21]

Olowokandi was coveted by the San Antonio Spurs to replace the retiring David Robinson.[22] He was also a top choice for the Denver Nuggets, with Kiki VanDeWeghe of the Denver Nuggets considering Olowokandi to be a "legitimate center."[23] However, Olowokandi resigned with the Clippers to their qualifying offer on September 24, 2002, following weeks of uncertainty in contract negotiations.[24] Olowokandi injured his left knee during his extensive training during the offseason and missed most of the preseason.[25][26] The team's apprehension in offering him a longterm contract extension caused conflict between the Clippers and Olowokandi, who by December 2002 had decided he would not again resign with the team.[27] He also considered himself as having a limited role in coach Alvin Gentry's offense despite having a breakthrough season that saw improvements in his aggressiveness and consistency.[27] Olowokandi's left knee injury flared up in January 2003 and he was placed on the injured list.[26] He underwent knee surgery on February 3, 2003, and was ruled out for three to four weeks.[28] Olowokandi was ultimately ruled out for the rest of the season by the Clippers in April.[29]

Olowokandi averaged 9.9 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in his 323 games played with the Clippers over five seasons.[30] Abdul-Jabbar, who became an assistant coach for the Clippers during Olowokandi's tenure, considered Olowokandi "talented but uncoachable" and cited his lack of willingness to accept criticism in practice as being detrimental to his career.[31]

Minnesota Timberwolves (2003-2006)

Due to financial issues with the L.A. Clippers, Olowokandi signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves on a three-year, $16.2 million dollar contract.[32][33][34] Olowokandi had been considered the 4th most valuable free agent that offseason but received little interest from NBA teams and accepted the only solid deal he was offered.[32][35] Olowokandi was enticed by Timberwolves general manager and former player Kevin McHale, who trained one-on-one together before the season started.[30] Olowokandi again experienced pain and swelling in his left knee so had a second procedure before the start of the regular season that resulted in him missing all of training camp and attending only three team practices.[30] He appeared sporadically in games for the Timberwolves during November and December due to tendinitis in his right knee. Olowokandi underwent surgery on December 12, 2003, and was ruled out indefinitely.[36]

On November 26, 2004, Olowokandi was suspended by the Timberwolves for two games after he was arrested for refusing to leave an Indianapolis night club.[37][38] On January 16, 2005, Olowokandi was suspended by the NBA for four games for a fight with Nenê of the Denver Nuggets during a game the previous night.[39]

Boston Celtics (2006-2007)

On January 26, 2006, he was traded by the Timberwolves to the Boston Celtics in a multi-player trade.[40]

In 500 regular season NBA games (399 games started), Olowokandi averaged 8.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.39 blocked shots per game. In 15 playoff games (2 starts), he averaged 2.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, and .7 blocks per game. Before his injuries occurred due to overtraining, Olowokandi was noted for his large size and skills with scoring, blocking shots, and rebounding, readily helping the Clippers against top NBA defenders such Dikembe Mutombo.[41][42]

Charity

In 2001, Olowokandi and his Clippers teammates participated in the BasketBowl Challenge at Keystone Lanes in Norwalk, to raise funds for the Los Angeles Clippers Foundation and Children's Hospital Los Angeles.[43]

During Thanksgiving of 2006, Olowokandi volunteered his time at the Boston Children's Hospital and served meals for over 200 homeless people at the Pine Street Inn in Boston.[44] He has also donated to various charities and hospitals, including over $100,000 to the Children's Hospital Los Angeles for a new incubator for premature newborn infants. Many of Olowokandi's charitable projects were undisclosed and done privately without his teams' affiliations.[45]

Career statistics

NBA

Regular season

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1998-99 L.A. Clippers 45 36 28.4 .431 - .483 7.9 .6 .6 1.2 8.9
1999-2000 L.A. Clippers 80 77 31.2 .437 - .651 8.2 .5 .4 1.8 9.8
2000-01 L.A. Clippers 82 82 25.9 .435 - .545 6.4 .6 .4 1.3 8.5
2001-02 L.A. Clippers 80 79 32.1 .433 - .622 8.9 1.1 .7 1.8 11.1
2002-03 L.A. Clippers 36 36 38.0 .427 - .657 9.1 1.3 .5 2.2 12.3
2003-04 Minnesota 43 25 21.5 .425 - .590 5.7 .6 .4 1.6 6.5
2004-05 Minnesota 62 34 19.6 .456 - .667 5.2 .5 .2 .9 5.9
2005-06 Minnesota 32 24 23.5 .446 - .487 5.6 .5 .6 .8 6.0
2005-06 Boston 16 0 10.4 .444 - .625 2.6 .4 .2 .4 2.8
2006-07 Boston 24 0 9.8 .413 - .667 2.0 .2 .3 .5 1.7
Career 500 393 26.3 .435 - .597 6.8 .7 .5 1.4 8.3

Playoffs

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2004 Minnesota 15 2 14.9 .324 .000 .875 3.5 .1 .1 .7 2.1
Career 15 2 14.9 .324 .000 .875 3.5 .1 .1 .7 2.1

College

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1995-96 Pacific 25 - 10.3 .526 - .556 3.4 .2 .1 1.3 4.0
1996-97 Pacific 19 - 22.8 .570 - .333 6.6 .4 .4 1.7 10.9
1997-98 Pacific 33 - - .609 - .485 11.2 .8 .3 2.9 22.2
Career 77 - 15.7 .592 - .466 7.5 .5 .2 2.1 13.5

References

  1. ^ https://boston.cbslocal.com/2013/06/25/top-5-biggest-nba-draft-busts-of-all-time/
  2. ^ a b c d e White, Lonnie (7 October 1998). "Learning Curve". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2020.
  3. ^ a b Sheridan, Chris (24 June 1998). "Olowokandi has good shot at No. 1". Kitsap Sun. Retrieved 2020.
  4. ^ Whittell, Ian (1 January 2004). "Basketball: Fading Amaechi Cashes In". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Breakout Center Fell Into UOP's Lap - All 7-1 of Him / Coaching, diligence molded Olowokandi into a force". SFgate. Retrieved 2019.
  6. ^ a b c "Michael Olowokandi bio". NBA. Archived from the original on 1 July 2010. Retrieved 2011.
  7. ^ "U. of Pacific center Michael Olowokandi of Nigeria tops NBA draft". Jet. FindArticles.com. 13 July 1998. Retrieved 2011.
  8. ^ Taylor, Jeff (5 January 1999). "Bologna cash in on NBA lock-out". Independent. Retrieved 2020.
  9. ^ Retired Numbers Archived 29 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Pacifictigers.cstv.com. Retrieved on 2 January 2012.
  10. ^ Anderson, Jason (24 June 2008). "Former center Olowokandi hasn't maintained ties with university". Recordnet. Retrieved 2020.
  11. ^ Schmidt, Matt (27 June 2012). "The Worst No. 1 NBA Draft Picks Ever". ThePostGame. Retrieved 2014.
  12. ^ Fendrich, Howard (5 January 1999). "Top NBA Pick To Play in Italy". Associated Press. Retrieved 2020.
  13. ^ a b Taylor, Phil (8 February 1999). "If Kandi Isn't Dandy, The Club Will Continue to Be the League's Longest-Running Comedy Routine". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2020.
  14. ^ Michael Olowokandi MEDIE STAGIONE (in Italian).
  15. ^ OLUSEGUN MICHAEL OLOWOKANDI VIRTUS BUCKLER BOLOGNA VIRTUS BUCKLER BOLOGNA.
  16. ^ a b "Olowokandi Signs With Clippers". CBS News. 29 January 1999. Retrieved 2020.
  17. ^ a b "Olowokandi Has Knee Surgery". CBS News. 11 May 1999. Retrieved 2020.
  18. ^ CNNSI.com - SI Online - Marty Burns - Inside the NBA - Marty Burns: Free agents may be disappointed - Tuesday 2 July 2002 10:58 am Archived 12 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Quicktime.cnnsi.com (2 July 2002). Retrieved on 2 January 2012.
  19. ^ [1][dead link]
  20. ^ "Kandi Man vows to be free agency's sweetest deal". ESPN. Retrieved 2020.
  21. ^ "Olowokandi fined for 'behavior detrimental to the team'". ESPN. 5 April 2002. Retrieved 2020.
  22. ^ "West Goes With a Grizzled Veteran". The Los Angeles Times. 17 November 2002. Retrieved 2020.
  23. ^ "Clippers Looking at Nuggets". The Los Angeles Times. 10 July 2003. Retrieved 2020.
  24. ^ Teaford, Elliott (24 September 2002). "Clippers Decide to Retain Olowokandi, for Now". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2020.
  25. ^ Teaford, Elliott (14 October 2002). "Olowokandi's Knee Needs More Time". Los Angeles Time. Retrieved 2020.
  26. ^ a b "Clippers Put Olowokandi on Injured List". Midland Daily News. 30 January 2003. Retrieved 2020.
  27. ^ a b Howard-Cooper, Scott (20 December 2002). "Olowokandi pondering his next move". ESPN. Retrieved 2020.
  28. ^ "Clippers Olowokandi has knee surgery". UPI. 3 February 2003. Retrieved 2020.
  29. ^ "N.B.A.: ROUNDUP; Ben Wallace May Miss 2 Weeks". The New York Times. 8 April 2003. Retrieved 2020.
  30. ^ a b c Young, Troy (2 February 2004). "Michael Olowokandi: Ready to Thrive". NBA.com. Retrieved 2020.
  31. ^ Helin, Kurt (26 July 2011). "Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is not in the Olowokandi fan club". NBC Sports. Retrieved 2020.
  32. ^ a b Spears, Marc J. (26 November 2003). "Not so sweet so far". ESPN. Retrieved 2020.
  33. ^ "Hornets Haven't Created Much Buzz". The Los Angeles Times. 3 November 2002. Retrieved 2020.
  34. ^ "Clippers Must Open Coffers". The Los Angeles Times. 17 April 2002. Retrieved 2020.
  35. ^ "Skimming the cream of '03 free agent crop". ESPN. Retrieved 2020.
  36. ^ "Olowokandi has knee surgery". UPI. 12 December 2003. Retrieved 2020.
  37. ^ "Police: Olowokandi wouldn't leave club". ESPN. 26 November 2004. Retrieved 2020.
  38. ^ "Olowokandi acquitted in nightclub case". ESPN. 13 September 2005. Retrieved 2020.
  39. ^ "NBA hands down swift suspensions". ESPN. 16 January 2005. Retrieved 2020.
  40. ^ Celtics@Timberwolves recap Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Sports.yahoo.com (30 January 2006). Retrieved on 2 January 2012.
  41. ^ "Inside The NBA". www.si.com. 2 April 2001. Retrieved 2020.
  42. ^ "Kandi Man vows to be free agency's sweetest deal". ESPN. 13 July 2003. Retrieved 2020.
  43. ^ WHITE, LONNIE (24 March 2001). "Olowokandi Shaves Off Some of Those Silly Fouls". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2018.
  44. ^ "Boston Celtics Center Michael Olowokandi Spreads Holiday Cheer". NBA. Retrieved 2020.
  45. ^ "Children's Hospital Los Angeles (November 2009)". lachildrenshospital.net. Retrieved 2020.

External links


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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