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Old 08-14-2008, 12:40 PM   #1 (permalink)

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Default Some heads may explode if this happens...

Reading hoopshype and they have a story, on the first Iranian born player possibly joining the NBA. If this happens, all I have to say, is God help some people....

Ramsey: Iranian player might join NBA

BEIJING Hamed Ehadadi could soon bring his 7-foot-2, 260-pound frame and enormous promise to the NBA.

If that doesn't sound like a big deal, please consider one other fact about Ehadadi.

He's from Iran.

Ehadadi, who plays for Iran's Olympic team, said Thursday he expects to sign a deal with the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies. Ehadadi said he plans to meet with Grizzlies coach Marc Iavaroni.

The Grizzlies, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, want to add Ehadadi to their roster.

"I like America," Ehadadi said in his halting English. He visited the United States in July to play in a Utah summer league.

Iran's assistant coach Mehran Hatami said he expects no obstacles to block Ehadadi's NBA future.

"For sure, he will come", Hatami said.

Talking with Ehadadi and Hatami was a strange, and encouraging, moment. During the 2004 Olympics in Athens, my attempts to speak with a Iranian athletes resulted in icy hostility. Iranians acted as if I had leprosy.

Hatami, who speaks excellent English, was surprised that I was surprised to be talking to him and Ehadadi.

Sure, our nations have a few differences. Iran continues in its quest to build a nuclear bomb, despite our protests. Iran enraged Americans during the hostage crisis of 1979-80, and for some reason later decided to rename our abandoned embassy The United States Den of Espionage.
Hatami shrugged.

"Why we cannot talk? Everyone in sports is friends," Hatami said, smiling. "Here in sports everybody comes together for learning. We came here to learn - to experience basketball - and it's a honor to be here."

Ehadadi has plenty to learn. When he lifts the ball over his head, it's over. With his massive frame and long arms, he scores easily.

His problem is he struggles to lift the ball to even shoulder level. Opposing players slap the ball away from the Iranian giant. He remains weak, at least by big-time basketball standards. He runs out of breath easily.

But what must intrigue the Grizzlies is his potential. Even in his raw, unfinished condition, he shows flashes of dominance. With the help of a personal trainer, Ehadadi could become a frightening presence in the lane.
On Thursday, Ehadadi battled against Australian center Andrew Bogut, the former Utah star - and Air Force nemesis - who plays for the Milwaukee Bucks. Ehadadi collected 15 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots in Iran's 106-68 loss.

This is Iran's first basketball appearance in Olympic competition since 1948. With a big man named Ehadadi leading the way, it won't be the last.

"I think he has a good chance to play in the NBA," Bogut said. "He needs to get a bit stronger. Once he hits the weight room, he'll be a pretty tough horse."

Stay tuned. An Iranian could soon be battling in the United States. The surprise is that's a good thing.

Ehadadi might tangle with China's Yao Ming and Australia's Bogut and Spain's Pau Gasol and America's Dwight Howard in a kind of league of nations in the lane.

He could prove that anyone, if he can play, is welcome in the NBA.
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