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Michael Olowokandi
Center
Born April 3, 1975 (1975-04-03) (age 34)
Lagos, Nigeria
Nationality British
Listed height 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m)
Listed weight 270 lb (122 kg)
High school Newlands Manorium
College University of the Pacific
Draft 1st overall, 1998
Los Angeles Clippers
Pro career 1998–2007
Former teams Kinder Bologna (1998)
Los Angeles Clippers (19982003)
Minnesota Timberwolves (20032006)
Boston Celtics (20062007)

Michael Olowokandi (born April 3, 1975), nicknamed The Kandi Man, is a retired Nigerian British professional basketball player who formerly played in the NBA.

Born in Lagos, Nigeria and raised in London, England, Olowokandi began his collegiate career at Brunel University before enrolling at the University of the Pacific, in Stockton, California, USA, and joined their men's basketball team, despite the fact that he had only started to play basketball at age 17. During his junior year, Olowokandi led his team to the NCAA Tournament, and after his senior year he was drafted with the first overall pick of the 1998 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers. He averaged 22 points 11 rebounds and 3 blocks his senior year. He also graduated with a degree in Economics. Because of the NBA lockout, Olowokandi signed for Italian team Kinder Bologna. When he eventually signed for the Clippers he played there for five seasons before signing with the Minnesota Timberwolves as an unrestricted free agent before the 2003-04 NBA season.

In 500 career 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 0.73 blocks per game. He showed strong performances in the 2001-2002 season, averaging 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.[1] [2]. He began the 2002-2003 season with a very strong start before sustaining an injury that proved to be very costly. In his last year with the Los Angeles Clippers, he sustained a hernia and knee injury, which greatly hindered his ability after being listed as a top free agent prospect for the 2002-03 season. He finished that season averaging 12.3 points 9.1 rebounds and 2.2 blocks. Due to the injury, he signed with the Timberwolves in 2003 at less than market value. Despite serious injuries, he played another 43 games and received unsuccessful rehabilitation treatments during each off season for the remainder of his time in the NBA.

On January 26, 2006, he was traded to the Boston Celtics in a multi-player trade.[3]

He is also noted for various charity contributions. He had proceeds from the sale of his college jersey donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He also donated $100 000 the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles for the purchase of a new incubator to the premature babies' ward.[citation needed] In Boston, a few days before the Thanksgiving holidays, he was with patients at the Children's Hospital who were not able to go home to see their families. Then on Thanksgiving Day, he celebrated his holiday by serving home cooked meals to over 200 homeless men and women at the Pine Street Inn.[4] Olowokandi's #55 jersey was retired by the Pacific Tigers.[5]

References

  1. ^ [quicktime.cnnsi.com/inside_game/marty_burns/news/2002/07/01/burns_freeagency]
  2. ^ [basketballforums.com/nba-forum/5372-top-40-freeagents-still-available.html]
  3. ^ Celtics@Timberwolves recap
  4. ^ [nba.com/media/celtics/kandi_childrens400300.jpg]
  5. ^ Retired Numbers

External links

Awards
Preceded by
Tim Duncan
NBA first overall draft pick
1998 NBA Draft
Succeeded by
Elton Brand
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