By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
SHAREEF Abdur-Rahim spent 12 years as a player in the National Basketball Association. A time he described as full of growth and learning. It is the same experience he is having well into retirement.
Currently the NBA G League president, Mr. Abdur-Rahim said he is enjoying what he is doing right now but admits he is still learning the ropes, something he said he is willing to go through, knowing that it would only help him in dispensing his duties as leader of the NBA’s minor league organization.
The one-time NBA All-Star and 2000 Olympic gold medal winner said he is drawing from his vast experience as an NBA player, and later on as coach and league executive, as he settles into the role of G League president.
“All of my experiences in the NBA contribute to what I do now as G League president. Definitely I continue to grow in my position. There are still things I’m learning. But I’m enjoying my role, you continue to learn,” said Mr. Abdur-Rahim, who took the G League position in 2018, in a video conference call with Philippine media on May 14.
Mr. Abdur-Rahim, 43, was selected by the Vancouver Grizzlies with the third overall pick in the 1996 rookie draft.
He spent five years with the Grizzlies before being sent to the Atlanta Hawks in 2001.
With the Hawks, his career further soared, earning his lone All-Star nod in 2002.
In 2003 he was shipped to the Portland TrailBlazers, where he played for two years, before ending the last three years of his career with the Sacramento Kings.
After playing, he spent some time as assistant coach of the Kings then later on as assistant general manager of the team.
He was named associate vice-president of basketball operations of the NBA before taking the job with the G League in 2018.
Mr. Abdur-Rahim shared that he did not envision his post-playing career to chart such a path but his desire to continue to grow and challenge himself swung him in such a direction.
“When I retired I kind of went through a process of wanting to grow more. I spent time coaching. Went back to school and finished my education. I can’t say that I set out to go this path but all these experiences contributed to being where I am now,” he said.
A little over a year into his latest role, Mr. Abdur-Rahim said he is determined to make it work for him and the G League, guided by the organization’s push to continue developing NBA-level talent.
He said he is viewing his position in the G League as an opportunity to grow as an individual and contribute to the growth of others.
“It’s an opportunity to take my experience and share it with young players like Kai Sotto. It’s an outlet to continue to learn and grow and, at the same time, contribute,” said Mr. Abdur-Rahim, making special mention of Filipino prospect Sotto, who recently committed to play in the G League as he goes for his NBA dream.