Michael Olowokandi

Michael Olowokandi
Michael Olowokandi
Olowokandi in 2006 with Earl Barron.
Personal information
Date of birth April 3, 1975 (1975-04-03) (age 36)
Place of birth Lagos, Nigeria
Nationality British
High school Newlands Manor School (Seaford, East Sussex)
Listed height 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m)
Listed weight 270 lb (122 kg)
Career information
College Brunel (1993-1995)
University of the Pacific (1995-1998)
NBA Draft 1998 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1st overall
Selected by the Los Angeles Clippers
Pro career 1998–2007
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Stats at NBA.com

Michael Olowokandi (born April 3, 1975) is a retired Nigerian British professional basketball center who played in the American National Basketball Association from 1998 to 2007.

Olowokandi was born in Lagos, Nigeria; his father was a diplomat in Nigeria. His family moved to London, England. 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] In 1995, he enrolled at the University of the Pacific in the United States after discovering it through 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 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 per game his senior year and graduated with a degree in economics in 1998.[1] 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. 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.[3][4] 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.

On January 26, 2006, he was traded to the Boston Celtics in a multi-player trade.[5]

He is also noted for various charitable 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 for 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.[6] Olowokandi's #55 jersey was retired by the Pacific Tigers.[7]

Olowokandi has two children with ex-fiancee Suzie Ketcham, who stars on VH1's Basketball Wives.[8]


External links

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