The top three best Muslim NBA players

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.

The article was written by John Hassan of

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Forget the triple-double. The triple-dozen is where it’s at.

Since the 1986-87 season (which is the cutoff since that is as far back as Basketball Reference’s data goes), 201 different players have successfully posted a triple double, 1,042 games in all. That’s an average of 41.7 triple-doubles a season, including playoffs. It’s a nice feat, but it’s just too common of an occurrence to be amazing. (By the way, Jason Kidd leads the way with 107 triple-doubles during that span, though the first part of Magic Johnson’s career isn’t included. He had 66 during that span, but 138 overall. That’s second all-time to Oscar Robertson, who had 181 back in the day when nobody played any defense at all.)

So I submit for your approval…the triple-dozen. It’s just like a triple-double, but a player needs to record at least 12 in three of the following categories: points, rebounds, assists, blocks and/or steals.

In the last 25 years, 60 players have accomplished this feat a total of 155 times, or 6.2 times a season. Jason Kidd leads the way with 22, while Magic Johnson and Fat Lever trail (over that span) with 19 and 12 respectively. LeBron James is fourth with nine. Here’s the list of the 23 players who have posted a triple-dozen at least twice.

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Dwight Howard working with ‘The Dream’

Orlando Pinstriped Post reports that Dwight Howard is working with Hakeem Olajuwon to develop his post game.

Nearly two weeks ago, when word surfaced that Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard would spend some of his offseason training with 2008 Hall-of-Fame inductee Hakeem Olajuwon, the whole situation felt surreal. Magic fans had expressed their wish for Howard to learn from Olajuwon, via message boards and blog comments sections, for years.

And last night, Howard caused a bit of a stir, which included the usual bevy of negative comments from some of his followers, when he posted a photo of himself with the legendary center.

Howard’s post game has progressed somewhat since he’s entered the league. He still has very little touch, but he looks comfortable when he takes his little jumphook with either hand. The problem is accuracy (and touch) and that comes with repetition.

But Howard has always been more of a bodybuilder than a basketball player. He does not have the natural grace of Olajuwon. He’s big, strong and mechanical, not unlike Shaq in his early years. Eventually, Shaq developed a couple of post moves and he became unstoppable. With practice, Howard can do the same thing.

A relationship with Olajuwon (which should have started five years ago) is a good first step. But sometimes it takes an event to make a player realize just how far he has to go, and the Magic’s loss to the Celtics in the playoffs — when Howard’s post game was a virtual non-factor — seemingly gave Howard the reality check he needed.

He’s never going to turn into Tim Duncan, but if he can become Dwight Howard with a couple of go-to post moves, that will be plenty.

Dwight Howard to work with Olajuwon

This has to be music to Magic fans’ ears. Per the Orlando Sentinel

Some help might come from former Houston Rockets all-star Hakeem Olajuwon, who spoke with Howard during the Eastern Conference finals. Olajuwon has made himself available to NBA players in recent years; he even spent some time last summer working with Kobe Bryant to help Bryant to develop his low-post game.

“In the next couple of weeks, we will see each other,” Howard said of Olajuwon. “I just can’t wait to go up there. He’s a great guy. He had a lot of great things to say. I’m just looking forward to having the chance to work with him.”

Howard has improved his post game since he’s entered the league. Since he entered straight out of high school, and has been in the NBA for six years, it may seem like he hasn’t progressed all that much. But if you remember Shaq when he was 24, he didn’t have a polished post game either. The difference between the two players is that Shaq was about 40-50 lbs. heavier at the same age so he had that much more power.

Howard can shoot a hook with either hand, and he hit a few nice ones against the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Let’s not forget that Kendrick Perkins is a very solid post defender and did a nice job of keeping Howard out of the paint when he started his post up, pushing him out of his comfort zone for those jump hooks.

Olajuwon’s patented move was a baseline fadeaway that was essentially unblockable. Then when the defender would start to cheat up to try to contest it, he’d go up and under. Howard’s footwork is okay, but he’s awfully stiff when he makes his moves. Olajwuon was a far smoother athlete, which had everything to do with his background playing soccer growing up in Nigeria.

Howard needs to continue to work on his footwork, extend the range of his jump hook by 2-3 feet and develop a turnaround jumper over his right shoulder. That’s something that Shaq developed over the first half of his career which turned into a great weapon when the defender was bodying him up trying to keep him out of the lane.

I don’t think Howard is ever going to perfect the 15′ bank shot like Tim Duncan or develop an arsenal of moves like Pau Gasol, but he can build on what he’s already done and can certainly learn a few things from Olajuwon. If I were Howard, I’d book “The Dream” for the next few summers.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

NBA’s top 20 international players

The Love of Sports put together a list of the top 20 international players of all-time. It’s a solid list, but I have a few qualms with the top 6:

6. Tony Parker – France
Parker was born in Belgium and raised in France. The captain of the French National Team is lightning quick with the ball and a creative finisher around the basket. He’s won three NBA titles since joining the Spurs in 2003, and in 2007 became the first European player to be named the MVP of the NBA Finals.

5. Yao Ming – China
Yao’s been one of the greatest ambassadors for the game of basketball since joining the Rockets in 2002. The big fella’s steadily improved each year, averaging 22 points, 10.8 rebounds and two blocks per game last season. This past summer, he led China to the quarterfinals at the Beijing Games before an exalted home crowd.

4. Manu Ginobili – Argentina
Ginobili’s been successful at every level of basketball. Before joining the Spurs in 2002, he won a Euroleague Championship while playing in Italy. Then he won three rings with San Antonio, and in 2004 led Argentina to an Olympic gold medal, taking home the tournament MVP award in the process.

3. Steve Nash – Canada
Nash is a fierce competitor who thrived as the general in Mike D’Antoni’s fast-paced offense. He’s deceptively quick, a great shooter and his impromptu passes are a joy to watch. He won back-to-back MVP awards in 2003-04, 2004-05 and was generally recognized as the best point guard in the game.

2. Dirk Nowitzki – Germany
Nowitzki’s one of the most unique players in the NBA, a seven-footer with the ability to put the ball on the floor and range that extends beyond the arc. He led the Mavericks to the NBA Finals in 2006 and was named the league’s MVP the following season, becoming the first European player to win the award.

1. Hakeem Olajuwon – Nigeria
Olajuwon could control a game on the boards by blocking shots or with his fanciful footwork. He carried the Rockets to back-to-back championships and won a gold medal with the U.S. at the 1996 Olympics. “The Dream” was named NBA Finals MVP twice, a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and the first international player to win the MVP award.

Olajuwon at #1 is right, he was unstoppable in his prime. Nowitzki seems to be fading – not statwise, but domination-wise – so I’d have him below Nash, who did win two MVPs to Nowitzki’s one. Besides, you have to give credit to Nash, who looks like he would be a better fit as a roadie for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers than as a point guard for a NBA team.

I prefer Ginobili to Nowitzki, but I have no real basis to back that up. I just prefer Ginobili’s toughness and willingness to take the ball to the hoops. Dirk settles for too many jump shots. After that, I think Parker has to go ahead of Yao. The big man has simply been too injury-prone to be listed ahead of the talented Frenchman, who has won a NBA Finals MVP and is married to one of the hottest women on the planet…

There was one omission – Tim Duncan. I guess the list maker considers the U.S. Virgin Islands as domestic, and according to Wiki its head of state is George W. Bush (sorry about that, fellas), so I guess technically it is. However, his inclusion would have made for a very interesting debate at #1.

Oh, by the way, I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re adding Portland’s Rudy Fernandez to this list in the next few years.

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