Basketball players and fans all over the world always look up to the players in the National Basketball Association (NBA). It is the ultimate goal of any basketball player to play for this prestigious basketball league. Slowly, more and more international players are making their names in NBA. There have also been a few Muslim players in the league. Here are the three best Muslim basketball players ever to play in the NBA.
1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, was born Ferdinand Alcindor Jr. He is another Muslim NBA player and holds the most points scored in the league. Kareem was raised as a Roman Catholic, but converted to Sunni Islam in 1968 and changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He is the NBA’s all-time leader in most statistics and categories: scoring, blocked shots, games and minutes played, field goal attempts and made, defensive rebounds as well as personal fouls. He has six NBA titles, with two NBA finals MVP, six NBA MVP and was a 19-time All-Star.
2. Hakeem Olajuwon
Hakeem Olajuwon was another dominant center in the NBA who played for the Toronto Raptors and the Houston Rockets from 1984 to 2002. He fronted the Rockets continuously during 1994 and “95 championships. Moreover, he has been inaugurated into the NBA Hall of Fame. This man is a Nigerian native known for finesse and power as a center in the NBA. Hakeem is also part of the 50 Greatest Players of NBA. Hakeem was a two time NBA MVP and NBA Finals MVP. Currently, Hakeem is still active in the basketball scene, but in the background training NBA players like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Amar’e Stoudemire and many more in polishing their games at the post.
3. Shaquille O’Neal
Shaquille O’Neal is one of the most dominant big man in the NBA. A center, he started his career on 1992 and played with six different teams until he retired in 2011. He is most known for playing with the Los Angeles Lakers. He has four NBA titles under his belt, with three NBA Finals Most Valuable Player and one NBA Most Valuable Player. He was selected 15 times as an All-Star. Shaq now works as an NBA analyst. He is considered as one of the greatest 50 players in the NBA.
Shaq hit the Harvard Yard yesterday, which must have been quite the scene, and said that he wasn’t going to be a distraction for his new team.
“I’m much older now,’’ he said. “This team is good with or without me. Sometimes, in order to win, you have to sacrifice. I don’t mind sacrificing. At the end of the day, it’s all about winning.’’
“I’m going to do what I’m told to do. Whatever they need me to do. I’m not in a position to cause trouble or cause a ruckus. The reason why younger in my career I acted a fool is because they made me the CEO. If I’m the CEO and I’m getting all the blame, we’re going to start doing it my way.’’
Love the part about being the CEO.
All things considered, Shaq was a good teammate during his stint in Cleveland. The problem with the fit is that Shaq thrives in the half court, while LeBron and the rest of the Cavs did far better in an up tempo attack. He now joins a Boston team that tends to slow the game down, and he should be able to help with his ability to score in the post.
He doesn’t have much left, but he has enough to help the C’s.
Bill Simmons’ latest column delves into ‘chewed-on theories’ and one question he tries to answer is why Shaq would sign with the C’s for the league minimum. He believes it goes back to Kobe’ response after Game 7 of the Finals when he was asked what this title meant to him.
“I got one more than Shaq! You can take that to the bank.”
O’Neal signed with Boston because “when I close my book at the end of the day, it’s all about winning and nothing else.” This was someone who told a teammate before the final game of his 2009 Suns season — when they had just been eliminated from playoff contention — that he “needed to start getting in shape for my reality show.” Game 82 and you need to get in shape? Huh? Now you suddenly care about winning titles again? Now you’re fine with swallowing your dignity to be a spare part, a minimum guy, an afterthought, someone with no security at all? Just to chase a ring? When you already have four?
My theory: I think Kobe’s postgame routine got back to Shaq. I think it pissed him off. I think it got his competitive juices flowing for the first time in years. I think he realized Boston was his best chance to tie Kobe at five. I think he wants this more than anything. I think he shows up next month in surprisingly good shape, and I think we’ll be saying in November, “Wow, that Shaq signing may have been a great move by Boston!” And I think this will happen for only one reason: because Shaq hates Kobe and Kobe hates Shaq. Just a theory.
It certainly seems reasonable. My sense is that Shaq is not happy with the way things went in Phoenix or Cleveland and is hoping to make him relevant again for one more playoff run. Of course, he’d love to beat the Heat and the Lakers along the way.
I’ve been told that Atlanta wouldn’t budge on giving Shaq a starting nod over Al, who is after all still only 24-years old and an All-Star. Shaq believes he will get the starting nod over Jermaine O’Neal in Boston as Kendrick Perkins rehabs from his knee injury.
Atlanta also wasn’t willing to pay Shaq more than the minimum and that was a sticking point for him. He didn’t want to sign for the minimum when the Hawks had their bi-annual and mid-level exceptions available because of the perception that would create–as in the Hawks could have paid him more but didn’t. That’s not the case with Boston, which had neither of those exceptions and so could only give him the minimum.
The big guy still has his pride.
The Hawks were right not to give Shaq the starting nod over Al Horford, who is an up-and-coming All-Star-caliber big man.
But in the end, he probably made the right decision. The Celtics are obviously closer to a title than the Hawks are, and they were willing to pay him as much as they could, which perception-wise looks better than Atlanta giving him the minimum when they still have a couple of exceptions remaining.
Some are criticizing Shaq for not retiring, but the guy can still play a little. His PER last season was 17.92, which confirms that he’s a shadow of his former self (24.00+ from 2002-06), but that still puts him amongst the Top 15 centers on a per-minute basis.
Also, I think a move to Boston gives him a chance at a relevant end to his career. We’re more likely to see a Boston/Miami matchup in the Eastern Conference Finals than we are an Atlanta/Miami matchup, which should give Shaq the opportunity to help decide who represents the conference in the Finals.