NBA Muslim Basketball Players

Muslims are frequently well-represented in various sports leagues around the world because Islam is one of the world’s largest religions. Muslim athletes have made significant contributions to the world of sports and continue to do so.

Some famous Muslim NBA players

We thought it would be interesting to compile a list of current and former Muslim basketball players in the NBA as we enter the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and in light of Kyrie Irving’s recent breaking of the fast during an NBA game.

NOTE: This listing does not adhere to any rating scales.

  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
(Source: Wikipedia)

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, perhaps the most famous Muslim basketball player to ever play in the NBA, was born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr. and converted to Islam at the age of 24 in 1971.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is best known for his skyhook, which he used to become one of the league’s leading scorers.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was a 20-year NBA veteran who played for both the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers.

He was a six-time NBA Most Valuable Player, a 19-time NBA All-Star, a 15-time All-NBA selection, and an 11-time NBA All-Defensive Team member during his career.

  • Shaquille O’Neal

O’Neal, also known as Shaq, is widely regarded as one of the best NBA centers. He played for six different teams during his 19-year NBA career and is a four-time NBA champion. Shaquille O’Neal was drafted first overall by the Orlando Magic in the 1992 NBA draft after playing college basketball at LSU.

O’Neal won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award in the 1999-2000 season, the NBA Rookie of the Year award in 1992-93, 15 All-Star Game selections, three All-Star Game MVP awards, three Finals MVP awards, two scoring titles, 14 All-NBA team selections, and three NBA All-Defensive Team selections during his NBA career.

  • Rasheed Wallace

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Rasheed Wallace attended the University of North Carolina before entering the NBA draft in 1995, where he spent 16 years. Wallace was chosen with the fourth pick in the draft by the Washington Bullets, now the Washington Wizards.

Despite being traded to the Portland Trail Blazers and then the Atlanta Hawks, Wallace had his greatest impact with the Detroit Pistons. Wallace won the NBA championship with the Pistons in 2004 and returned to the Finals the following season.

  • Hakeem Olajuwon

Hakeem Olajuwon, nicknamed “the Dream,” was another well-known Muslim basketball player who played for the Houston Rockets and the Toronto Raptors. In 1994 and 1995, he led the Houston Rockets to back-to-back NBA titles.

  • Kyrie Irving

Irving, a player who is frequently chastised, is one of the league’s most prolific and skilled players. Irving, who is currently playing for the Brooklyn Nets, was named Rookie of the Year after being selected with the first overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

  • Kenneth Faried

Kenneth Faried most recently played for the NBA G League’s Grand Rapids Gold. He attended Morehead State University for four years and was twice named the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year. He was nicknamed “The Manimal” due to his fierce hustling on the court.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Julius Shareef Abdur-Rahim is the current president of the NBA G League. He previously worked as the Sacramento Kings’ director of player personnel and as the general manager of the Kings’ minor-league affiliate, the Reno Bighorns.

  • Dennis Schröder

Dennis Schröder is a Muslim basketball player from Germany who most recently played for the Houston Rockets in the NBA. After previously playing for SG Braunschweig and Phantoms Braunschweig in Germany, he spent his first five NBA seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, followed by two seasons with the Thunder.

  • Dion Waiters

Dion Waiters, who most recently played for the Los Angeles Lakers, attended Syracuse University and was selected fourth overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2012 NBA Draft.

He also played for the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat in addition to the Lakers, where he won a championship.

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  • Enes Kanter

Enes Kanter is an NBA free agent who most recently played for the Boston Celtics. Kanter, who was born in Switzerland to Turkish parents, was raised Muslim and is a devout Muslim. And, despite being born in Switzerland, he was raised in Turkey with his family.

  • Jusuf Nurkić

Jusuf Nurkić, also known as “The Bosnian Beast,” is a Bosnian professional basketball player for the Portland Trail Blazers. Jusuf Nurkić, who stands 6’11”, is a Muslim basketball player who also represents the Bosnia and Herzegovina national team internationally.

  • Salah Mejri

Salah Mejri is a basketball player from Tunisia who currently plays for the Beirut Club. He also plays for the Tunisian national basketball team. He had a successful career in Europe before opting to play for the NBA, joining the Dallas Mavericks as a 29-year-old rookie.

  • Ömer Aşık

Mer Aşk is another Turkish Muslim basketball player who last played in the NBA for the Chicago Bulls. At the age of 19, mer Aşk, who is officially listed at 7’2″, was highly sought after by many of the top Euroleague teams.