Michael Olowokandi

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Michael Olowokandi
Michael Olowokandi with Earl Barron.jpg
Olowokandi in 2006 with Earl Barron.
Personal information
Born (1975-04-03) 3 April 1975 (age 44)
Lagos, Nigeria
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
1998Kinder Bologna
19982003Los Angeles Clippers
20032006Minnesota Timberwolves
20062007Boston 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[1] (born 3 April 1975) is a British-Nigerian former professional basketball player. Born in Lagos, Nigeria and raised in London, he attended college on a basketball scholarship at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, and was the number one pick in the 1998 NBA draft, where he was selected as a center by the Los Angeles Clippers. He played professionally until 2007, when he was forced to retire due to severe hernia and knee injuries.

Early years[edit]

Olowokandi was born in Lagos, Nigeria; his father was a diplomat. His family moved to London when he was 4. Olowokandi attended the Newlands Manor School in Seaford, East Sussex, where he set England's age group records in long jump and triple jump and also played center midfield in football.

Olowokandi had a height of 6'8 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.[2]

He then entered Brunel University as a mechanical engineering major, where he was an athlete in track and field, cricket, and rugby union.[3][4]

College career[edit]

In 1995, on Olowokandi's 20th birthday, he opened the Peterson's Guide to American Colleges and Universities and found the school page of University of the Pacific. Olowokandi then called the UOP basketball office in hopes that he would be accepted to play basketball.[3] 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. He started out in a poor basketball condition but eventually became a star for the team, averaging a team high 12.6 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks. [2]

During his junior year, he 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 in 1998 and his No. 55 jersey was retired by the university.[5] After his senior year, he was drafted with the first overall pick of the 1998 NBA draft by the Los Angeles Clippers.[3][6]

Professional career[edit]

Because of the 1998–99 NBA lockout, the season in which he was drafted, Olowokandi signed for Italian team Kinder Bologna. With Bologna, in 3 games played, he averaged 4.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 0.3 assists per game in 17.3 minutes per game, in the Italian League.[7] With Bologna, he also played in 3 games in the FIBA EuroLeague, where he averaged 10.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 0.3 assists per game in 21.3 minutes per game.[8] Olowokandi eventually signed with the Clippers, where he averaged 9.9 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocked shots in 30.4 minutes per game in a 323 game stint for five seasons.[9] Afterwards, he signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the 2003–04 NBA season. On 26 January 2006, he was traded to the Boston Celtics in a multi-player trade.[10]

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. In the 2001–2002 season, Olowokandi saw the most playing time of his career and averaged 11.1 points and 8.8 rebounds. During the last 20 games of that season, he averaged 17 points a game and 11 rebounds, and was considered one of the biggest free agents in the 2002–2003 free agency class.[11][12][13]

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.[14][15] Out of 20 top free agents in 2003, Olowokandi was the 4th most valuable free agent prior to his injury.[16]

In 2002, Olowokandi was the first choice to be signed by the San Antonio Spurs to replace Hall of Famer David Robinson.[17] He was also a top choice for the Denver Nuggets, with Kiki VanDeWeghe of the Denver Nuggets considering Olowokandi to be a "legitimate center."[18] Eventually, due to financial issues with the L.A. Clippers, Olowokandi left the Clippers to join the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2003.[19][20]

During the 2002-03 season, Olowokandi's performance was not as strong when he began to experience severe tendonitis in his left knee, which eventually required surgical treatment as he was forced to miss out on the final 2.5 months of the season.[21] Despite facing injuries that had been unsuccessfully treated, he continued to play dozens of games for the L.A. Clippers, Minnesota Timberwolves, and finally the Boston Celtics before finally retiring in 2007.[22] In 2009, he received hernioplasty treatment in Munich, Germany.

Charity[edit]

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.[23]

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.[24] 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.[25]

Career statistics[edit]

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high

NBA[edit]

Regular season[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

  1. ^ Olowokandi. "Michael". FIBA. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Breakout Center Fell Into UOP's Lap - All 7-1 of Him / Coaching, diligence molded Olowokandi into a force". SFgate. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  3. ^ a b c "Michael Olowokandi bio". NBA. Archived from the original on 1 July 2010. Retrieved 27 June 2011.
  4. ^ "U. of Pacific center Michael Olowokandi of Nigeria tops NBA draft". Jet. FindArticles.com. 13 July 1998. Retrieved 27 June 2011.
  5. ^ Retired Numbers Archived 29 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Pacifictigers.cstv.com. Retrieved on 2 January 2012.
  6. ^ Schmidt, Matt (27 June 2012). "The Worst No. 1 NBA Draft Picks Ever". ThePostGame. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  7. ^ Michael Olowokandi MEDIE STAGIONE (in Italian).
  8. ^ OLUSEGUN MICHAEL OLOWOKANDI VIRTUS BUCKLER BOLOGNA VIRTUS BUCKLER BOLOGNA.
  9. ^ https://www.nba.com/timberwolves/features/olowokandi_031202.html
  10. ^ Celtics@Timberwolves recap Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Sports.yahoo.com (30 January 2006). Retrieved on 2 January 2012.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ [1][dead link]
  13. ^ "Kandi Man vows to be free agency's sweetest deal". ESPN. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  14. ^ "Inside The NBA". www.si.com. 2 April 2001. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  15. ^ "Kandi Man vows to be free agency's sweetest deal". ESPN. 13 July 2003. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  16. ^ "Skimming the cream of '03 free agent crop". ESPN. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  17. ^ "West Goes With a Grizzled Veteran". The Los Angeles Times. 17 November 2002. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  18. ^ "Clippers Looking at Nuggets". The Los Angeles Times. 10 July 2003. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  19. ^ "Hornets Haven't Created Much Buzz". The Los Angeles Times. 3 November 2002. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  20. ^ "Clippers Must Open Coffers". The Los Angeles Times. 17 April 2002. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  21. ^ "Kandi Man vows to be free agency's sweetest deal". ESPN. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  22. ^ "LA Clippers Schedule 2002-03". ESPN. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  23. ^ WHITE, LONNIE (24 March 2001). "Olowokandi Shaves Off Some of Those Silly Fouls". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  24. ^ "Boston Celtics Center Michael Olowokandi Spreads Holiday Cheer". NBA. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  25. ^ "Children's Hospital Los Angeles (November 2009)". lachildrenshospital.net. Retrieved 2 February 2020.

External links[edit]