Friday, August 22, 2008

NO Iranians Allowed In the NBA?


I recently wrote a post for SportsAgentBlog.com that told about the situation with Hamed Ehadadi, an Iranian basketball player who received interest from NBA teams. Below is the post that received a lot of attention and several comments already.

After an impressive showing in Beijing, seven-foot-two Iranian center Hamed Ehadadi caught the eye of many scouts all around the world. In a 97-82 Iranian loss to Argentina, a game that Ehadadi had 21 points and 16 rebounds in, Hamed said through an assistant coach, Mehran Hatami, “It is my dream to play in the NBA.”

Well, that comment and his notable skills during only four games in group play caused NBA commissioner David Stern and the NBA legal counsel to advise NBA teams of their rights when dealing with Iranian players.

In the letter, which was sent to all NBA teams Friday, the NBA legal counsel wrote: “It has come to our attention that representatives of Hamed Ehadadi, an Iranian basketball player, may be contacting NBA teams to discuss the possibility of signing Mr. Ehadadi to an NBA player contract. We have been advised that a federal statue prohibits a person or organization in the United States from engaging in business dealings with Iranian nationals.”

Ehadadi was asked in a press conference if any NBA teams had contacted him so far. He replied by stating that two or three NBA teams had already contacted him, including the Memphis Grizzlies.

In Iran’s four losses in Pool B of the Olympics, Ehadadi averaged 16.5 points, 10 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. He is considered a project by many NBA teams, but recently has shown improvement with his inside game, showing more strength than in previous settings. Ehadadi also has shown that he can block shots. His most impressive attribute however, remains his height. At seven-foot-two, the young 21 year old is a project that many NBA teams would like to start working on right now.

Currently, the NBA is applying to the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control to get a license that would allow any NBA team to negotiate with Ehadadi. Until the NBA gets permission, no franchise is allowed to discuss anything with the HUGE Iranian.

I wonder if the NBA will investigate any of the three teams that have contacted Ehadadi already. If Major League Baseball investigated Manny’s situation after he was traded to L.A. then David Stern will certainly be looking more into this situation and the NBA teams involved. I do not believe it will result in anything substantial, but contacting an athlete who cannot be legally contacted is a violation of NBA rules.

I am in the process of finishing an UPDATE regarding Ehadadi and the leagues recent decision to allow discussions and lift this ban I just talked about. Stay tuned for this update on SportsAgentBlog.com I want to be a sports agent.

No comments: