Shareef Abdur-Rahim had a long and successful basketball career on the court. He was described as one of the few reliable â€œ20-10â€ guys. That refers to an average of 20 plus points per game and 10 plus rebounds per game. He had the versatility at the forward position to be both skillful and rugged. But while he was playing, he never expected his versatility to take him into the realm of player personnel and team operations. But that is the direction that his career has taken, as he was recently named Assistant General Manager of the NBAâ€™s Sacramento Kings.
He started out in Atlanta, Georgia. He was born in the suburb of Marietta, Georgia to William and Aminah Abdur-Rahim. The second eldest of twelve children, Shareef grew up in a family that was both talented in basketball and devout in Islam. Two of his brothers went on to play college basketball. And by the time Shareef began to flourish for Wheeler High in Marietta, he had established himself as the best high school player in the state. He won the stateâ€™s â€œMr. Basketballâ€ award twice, and led Wheeler to the state title in 1994.
Abdur-Rahim eventually chose to attend the University of California at Berkeley. There he became the first freshman in the history of the Pac-10 Conference to win the Conference Player of the Year Award. He averaged 21.1 points per game and 8.4 rebounds per game in his only year at Cal. But another important statistic was that he finished with a 3.5 grade point average at one of the top schools in America. However with success comes opportunity and the lure of the NBA was to much to resist. So Shareef turned pro after his freshman, and was promptly the third overall selection in the 1996 NBA Draft by the Vancouver Grizzlies.
He found individual success very quickly, making the NBA All-Rookie Team, but the Vancouver team as a whole continually struggled. Finally, in June of 2001 he was traded to his home town Atlanta Hawks. In his first season in Atlanta he made the NBA All-Star Game. And in his second season with the Hawks he became the fifth-youngest player in NBA history to reach 10,000 career points scored. He was traded in 2004 to Portland where he played a season and a half. He subsequently signed with the Sacramento Kings in 2005 and that is where he played the last three years of his playing career. He ultimately announced his retirement on September 22, 2008, and was promptly hired by the Kings as an assistant coach the very next week. Now he has advanced to the next rung of the Kings organization.
Not only is this an honor for Abdur-Rahim to be promoted to an NBA front office position, but he will be assisting one of the top tier general managers in the game in Geoff Petrie. So he will truly have a chance to learn from the best. And of course this is a big step for Muslims in American sports as well, as Abdur-Rahim joins Omar Khan of the Pittsburgh Steelers as the only Muslims in executive positions with American sports franchises. In addition, Abdur-Rahim has started the Future Foundation, which provides after-school and other support services for at-risk youth back in his home town of Atlanta. He is otherwise a member of his adopted home town, Sacramento, with his wife Delicia, and his two kids, Jabri and Aminah.