Michael Olowokandi (born 3 April 1975) is a retired professional basketball player. Born in Nigeria and raised in London he attended college on a basketball scholarship at University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, and was the number one pick in the 1998 NBA draft, where he was selected as a center by the Los Angeles Clippers. He played professionally until 2007.
Because of the 1998–99 NBA lockout, the season in which he was drafted, Olowokandi signed for Italian team Kinder Bologna. When he eventually signed for the Clippers he played there for five seasons. Afterward, he signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the 2003-04 NBA season. On 26 January 2006, he was traded to the Boston Celtics in a multi-player trade.
In 500 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. 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.
NBA All-Rookie Second Team (1999)
Big West Player of the Year (1998)
Career NBA statistics
Points 4,135 (8.3 ppg)
Rebounds 3,414 (6.8 rpg)
Blocks 697 (1.4 bpg)