WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- Remember the 2004 NBA draft when most of usthought the Orlando Magic were making a big mistake passing on EmekaOkafor? I think that Dwight Howard guy they drafted turned out okay.
Okafor, 29, hasn't exactly steered his career down the route we expected, ever sincehe gracefully cut down the nets in his final days with Connecticut. Butcan we totally blame it all on him?
Five years with the Charlotte Bobcats and three with the New OrleansHornets is the equivalent to wasting a career with Oakland Raiders, orthe Kansas City Royals.
Maybe you'd argue the Wizards are only slightlyless of an abomination than the Bobcats and Hornets, but as Washington team president Ernie Grunfeld said yesterday: "We think we're a better team today than we [were] yesterday." The Wizards rotation isn't half bad; some players like Trevor Booker will be fighting tooth-and-nail for minutes.
And althoughthe Wizards have slated themselves for two years of mediocrity at bestwith yesterday's trade, sitting at .500 might not be a terrible place for thefranchise to float around for the time being.
Let's learn more about Okafor.
*Okafor was an academic All-American at UCONN, graduating with a 3.76 GPA in three years. His major was finance.
*His parents are of Nigerian descent, which links him to Houston Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon. The pair worked out together in the summer of 2005 and formed a close bond.
*Okafor was a member of the 2004 Olympic team -- you know the one that embarrassed us all by finishing with the bronze medal. Hilariously, the box score from the American's loss to Argentina has been removed from team USA basketball's website.
*The 05-06 season, as well as the 11-12 campaigns were complete washes for the big man. The latter injury was an ankle injury, while last season it was a lingering left knee issue. So when people argue Okafor has been injury riddled, it isn't true.
*Afterfour seasons of watching Okafor, avid NBA consumers realized Okafor wasa 15 and 10 guy at best. The defensive forward was someone who should be a respectablefranchise's third best player -- but certainly not a superstar,something Charlotte had hoped for when they drafted him second overall.Horrendously, the Bobcats awarded Okafor a six-year, $72 million deal in 2008,only to trade him a year later for Tyson Chandler and a draft pick.
*While in New Orleans, Okafor consumed 4,500-5,500 calories a day.
*According to this site, Okafor's nicknames are: EO-50 and Oak Tree.
*And of course, my tweet from earlier: Okafor appeared on the teenage girl-centric television program "One Tree Hill."