Michael Olowokandi (born April 3 1975 in Lagos, Nigeria), nicknamed The Kandi Man, is a Nigerian professional Basketball player formerly in the NBA. He currently is a free agent. Born in Nigeria and raised in London, England, Olowokandi began his collegiate career at Brunel University before enrolling at the University of the Pacific, in Stockton, California, USA, and joined their men's basketball team, despite the fact that he had only started to play basketball at age 17. His junior year, Olowokandi led his team to the NCAA Tournament, and after his senior year was drafted with the first overall pick of the 1998 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers. 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.
In 366 career regular season NBA games (335 games started), Olowokandi has averaged 9.5 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 1.63 blocked shots per game. In 15 playoff games (2 starts), he has averaged 2.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 0.73 blocks per game. In his five years with the Los Angeles Clippers, he struggled, never emerging as the dominant Center (basketball) that many expected him to be. The last year he was with the Los Angeles Clippers, he sustained a hernia and knee injury, which greatly hindered him after being the top free agent in the 2002-03 season. Due to the injury, he signed with the Timberwolves in 2003 at a fraction of his market value. Despite injuries that have forced other players to retire, he played another 43 games and received unsuccessful rehabilitation treatments during each off season for the remainder of his time in the NBA.
On January 26 2006, he was traded to the Boston Celtics in a multi-player trade. Upon returning to the Target Center a few days later for a game against the Wolves, he was greeted with a chorus of boos.
Olowokandi is considered by many to be one of the biggest busts in NBA history because he was taken 1st overall in the '98 draft and that he was taken ahead of star players such as Vince Carter, Antawn Jamison, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, Mike Bibby, and Rashard Lewis. In 2005 Sports Illustrated named him #3 on a list of NBA draft busts. In a March 2006 article by ESPN's Bill Simmons, he claimed someone once described Olowokandi as "the human Ebola virus".
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