Toronto Raptors point guard Jerryd Bayless (5) is fouled by Charlotte Bobcats center Nazr Mohammed (13) during an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, North Carolina February 22, 2011. REUTERS/Chris Keane
A couple of Muslim brothers changed employers at the National Basketball Association trade deadline in February. One was a veteran of any seasons, while the other was a raw, young talent trying to find his way and seeking to harness his untapped potential after a disappointing start to his career. First, the veteran: 13 year NBA stalwart Nazr Mohammed was traded by the Charlotte Bobcats to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The 6 foot 10 inch Mohammed will be counted on to provide defense and rebounding off the bench for the young and up-and-coming Western Conference team.
The other trade involved the bittersweet tale of Hasheem Thabeet. Thabeet is a 7 foot four inch Tanzanian-American center who was the second overall selection in the 2009 NBA draft. He had primarily played soccer growing up in Africa, and did not pick up a basketball until the age of 15. He eventually made it over to the United States and played high school basketball in suburban Houston, Texas. Despite the rawness of his game, Thabeet attracted some attention from college scouts, and was recruited to play for the perennial powerhouse menâ€™s basketball team at the University of Connecticut. And he made slow but steady progress over his college career before being selected in 2009 by the Memphis Grizzlies. In Memphis, however, his progress stalled, and he admittedly lost his confidence. But in an ironic twist, this trade deadline deal takes him back to one of his hometowns, as he was sent to the Houston Rockets. Hopefully in Houston he will have some time to develop his considerable skills in the hopes of emulating his all-time favorite player, Houston Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon.