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Michael Olowokandi

Michael Olowokandi
Olowokandi in 2006 with Earl Barron.
Personal information
Born (1975-04-03) 3 April 1975 (age 45)
Lagos, Nigeria
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Career information
College Pacific (1995–1998)
NBA draft 1998 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1st overall
Selected by the Los Angeles Clippers
Pro career 1998–2007
Position Center
Number 34, 41
Career history
1998 Kinder Bologna (Italy)
19982003 Los Angeles Clippers
20032006 Minnesota Timberwolves
20062007 Boston Celtics
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points 4,135 (8.3 ppg)
Rebounds 3,414 (6.8 rpg)
Blocks 697 (1.4 bpg)
Stats at

Michael Olowokandi (born 3 April 1975) is a retired professional basketball player. Born in Nigeria, he attended college on a basketball scholarship in the United States, and was the number one pick in the 1998 NBA draft, where he was selected as a center by the Los Angeles Clippers in 1998. He played professionally until 2007.

Regarded as one of the greatest draft busts, Olowokandi's skills never translated to the NBA, and his career was marred by injury and inconsistency. He retired from professional basketball in 2007.

Early years

Olowokandi was born in Lagos, Nigeria; his father was a diplomat. His family moved to London, and Olowokandi attended the Newlands Manor School in Seaford, East Sussex and Brunel University. At Brunel, Olowokandi was an athlete in track and field, cricket, and rugby union, and began playing basketball when he was 18.[1][2]

College career

In 1995, he enrolled at University of the Pacific after opening to the school's page in Peterson's Guide to American Colleges and Universities. At a 7-foot height, Michael Olowokandi called the basketball office at Pacific in the hopes that he would be accepted.[1] During his junior year, Olowokandi led his team to the 1997 NCAA Tournament. He averaged 22 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game his senior year and graduated with a degree in economics in 1998; his No. 55 jersey was retired.[3] After his senior year, he was drafted with the first overall pick of the 1998 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers.[1][4]

Professional career

Because of the 1998–99 NBA lockout, the season in which he was drafted, Olowokandi signed for Italian team Kinder Bologna. When he eventually signed for the Clippers he played there for five seasons. Afterward, 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.[5]

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 0.73 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.[6][7] He played 36 games in the 2002–2003 season before sustaining an injury that forced him to miss the rest of the season. 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 (on 42.7% shooting from the floor) 9.1 rebounds, 2.2 blocks, and 2.7 turnovers per game. During that offseason, he signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves. His time with the Timberwolves was marked by serious injury and inconsistent play.


  1. ^ a b c "Michael Olowokandi bio". NBA. Retrieved 27 June 2011. 
  2. ^ "U. of Pacific center Michael Olowokandi of Nigeria tops NBA draft". Jet. 13 July 1998. Retrieved 27 June 2011. 
  3. ^ Retired Numbers. Retrieved on 2 January 2012.
  4. ^ Schmidt, Matt (27 June 2012). "The Worst No. 1 NBA Draft Picks Ever". ThePostGame. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  5. ^ Celtics@Timberwolves recap. (30 January 2006). Retrieved on 2 January 2012.
  6. ^ – SI Online – Marty Burns – Inside the NBA – Marty Burns: Free agents may be disappointed – Tuesday July 02, 2002 10:58 am. (2 July 2002). Retrieved on 2 January 2012.
  7. ^ [1][dead link]

External links