Iran’s pride in basketball is the behemoth Hamed Haddadi. He was born in May 19, 1985 in Ahvaz.
He is currently playing with the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA. His height is 7’2 tall and plays the center position. His style of play is more on defensive but he also have the ability to score in the paint using his height advantage. He is the first Iranian player to ever play in the NBA who debuted on Dec. 30, 2008 against the Phoenix Suns.
His professional career started in 2002, the year when he won the silver medal at the U-18 category of the 2002 Asian Championship. In 2004, he led the Junior Iranian team to its gold medal in the U-20 Asian Championship.
In 2004 and 2005, he is playing with the senior Iranian national basketball team where they won gold medals in the West Asian Championship. With his presence, the Iranian team turned into a dominating team where he showcased his blocking ability.
At the 2006 Asian Games, Haddadi won silver medal for the Iranians. He helped the national team to garner gold medals in 2007 FIBA Asian Championship and 2009 FIBA Asian Championship and he was named with the Most Valuable Player award for both competitions.
He showed the world how good blocker he is in the 2008 Beijing Olympics wherein he is the leading average of blocked shots per game and rebounds per game.
Off the court, Haddadi has been hosting basketball camp for children. One was in September 2009 where he held a basketball camp for the school California State University, Northridge.
It is mainly for the Iranian American people and with him is the Los Angeles Lakers’ Forward Ron Artest,his teammate in Iranian national team and a professional basketball player Behdad Sami, his manager Mayar Zokaei and Benny Koochoie. It is packed with 120 children and it was the first sports camp by an Iranian athlete. Also in 2009, along with his teammates in Memphis, he dedicated a new playground for the students of the Bruce Elementary School in Memphis.
The 2008 Beijing Olympics has been a good stint for Haddadi where he was offered by NBA teams to sign with them but there are complications in his legal restrictions between the business dealing with the US and Iranian citizens.
On August 28, 2008, he was signed by the Memphis Grizzlies as a free agent and he averaged 2.5 points per game, 2.5 rebounds per game and 0.6 blocks per game. The Grizzlies decided to put Haddadi in the NBA Development League to improve his game with the Dakota Wizards. But he was recalled by the Grizzlies that year also.