Chukwuemeka Ndubuisi "Emeka" Okafor (born September 28, 1982) is an American professional basketball player. Okafor attended Bellaire High School in Bellaire, Texas and the University of Connecticut, where in 2004 he won a national championship.
Okafor during his tenure with the Washington Wizards
|Position||Center / Power forward|
|Born||September 28, 1982|
|Listed height||6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)|
|Listed weight||252 lb (114 kg)|
|High school||Bellaire (Bellaire, Texas)|
|NBA draft||2004 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2nd overall|
|Selected by the Charlotte Bobcats|
|2009–2012||New Orleans Hornets|
|2018||New Orleans Pelicans|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Okafor was born in Houston, Texas. Both of his parents are natives of Nigeria, and Emeka was the first member of his family born in the United States. His father, Pius Okafor, is a member of the Igbo ethnic group.
Okafor's family moved to Bartlesville, Oklahoma when he was young because his father worked for Phillips Petroleum Company, headquartered in Bartlesville. While in Bartlesville, Okafor's father took his son to the Bartlesville YMCA to learn the game of basketball.
Okafor played at Bellaire High School with future Oklahoma State star John Lucas III. Okafor averaged 22 points, 16 rebounds and 7 blocks in his senior season. Bellaire was 26–5 in that season, losing 56–42 in the third round of the 2001 UIL state playoffs, to Willowridge High School and future Texas standout T. J. Ford. This game is particularly notable, however, because it featured five players who would go on to play in an NCAA Final Four (Bellaire had Lucas and Okafor, while Willowridge featured Ford, Oklahoma State's Ivan McFarlin and Duke's Daniel Ewing). All five of these players would eventually go on to play at least a season in the NBA.
Okafor flew under the recruiting radar for much of his high school career, but by the end of his senior year, Okafor was receiving late interest from top programs and chose to accept a scholarship at the University of Connecticut, choosing the Huskies over Arkansas and Vanderbilt.
Okafor played for the University of Connecticut from 2001 to 2004 where he was teammates with Charlie Villanueva, Marcus Williams, Ben Gordon, Hilton Armstrong and Josh Boone, who all went on to play in the NBA. He majored in finance during his time at Connecticut, and he graduated with honors after three years in May 2004 with a 3.8 GPA. Okafor was named the Academic All-American of the Year in 2004 for his work on and off the court.
Okafor is noted for his impressive defensive ability, especially his shot-blocking. Although he was plagued by back problems for most of the 2003–04 season, Okafor led UConn to the program's second national title in six seasons. He was crowned as the NCAA tournament's Most Outstanding Player. In addition, Okafor led the nation in blocks that season and was also named National Defensive Player of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. He also received the Big East Player of the Year award. Okafor graduated as Connecticut's leader in blocked shots with 441. In light of his collegiate achievements, Okafor was made a member of the 2004 U.S. National Men's Basketball Team which represented the U.S. at the Olympics in Athens.
On February 5, 2007, he was inducted to the Husky Ring Of Honor at Gampel Pavilion on the University of Connecticut campus in Storrs during halftime of the men's basketball game against the Syracuse Orange as part of a ceremony which recognized personal accomplishments of 13 former players and 3 coaches.
On April 16, 2004, Okafor declared his eligibility for the 2004 NBA draft, giving up his one remaining year of college athletic eligibility. He did, however, receive his undergraduate degree in Accounting/Finance in three academic years. On June 24, Okafor was selected second overall in the draft, becoming the first ever draft pick by the expansion Charlotte Bobcats. The following day, he accepted an invitation to join the United States team for the 2004 Summer Olympics, which finished with the bronze medal in Athens.
The 2004–05 season was a successful campaign as Okafor coped well with the pressures of being the star rookie on an expansion franchise. Highlights of the season included recording 19 straight double-doubles from November 21 through January 1, and finishing seventh among Eastern Conference forwards in NBA All-Star Game fan balloting with 408,082 votes, by far the highest number garnered by any rookie in 2005. At the end of the season, Okafor beat out his friend and former college teammate and roommate, Chicago Bulls guard Ben Gordon, to win the NBA Rookie of the Year Award.
On June 24, 2005, the Bobcats picked up the option for the fourth year on Okafor's contract, as he quickly established himself as the face of the franchise, and a solid player for years to come. Okafor finished his rookie season with 44.7% field goal percentage and per-game averages of 15.1 points, 10.9 rebounds (ranked 4th in the league), and 1.7 blocks.
In the 2005 offseason, Okafor's weight increased from 260 to 280 lbs. It was this weight gain which he felt caused him to have trouble rehabbing his early season ankle injury and forced him to sit out most of the 2005–06 season with injuries to his ankle. Nonetheless in the few games he played he was effective as he averaged a double-double for the second consecutive season. For the season he finished with averages of 13.2 points on 41.5% shooting, 10.0 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game.
During the offseason he continued his tutorials with Hakeem Olajuwon, which he took up after his rookie season, and lost the 20 pounds which he had gained for his second season. Okafor felt this weight loss gave him more energy and mobility. He led the Bobcats in rebounds per game, blocks per game, and field goal percentage. On December 29, 2006, in a home game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Emeka would record 22 points, 25 rebounds, and 4 blocks in over 51 minutes of play, in an epic 133–124 triple overtime victory. He also had eight blocks in games against the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics. On January 12, 2007, he would record an NBA season high ten blocks in a game against the New York Knicks. His ten blocks were the most ever recorded in a single game at Madison Square Garden. In that game, he was one rebound away from recording the first ever triple-double in franchise history, finishing with 20 pts, 10 blocks, 9 rebounds, and 3 steals. Later in the season, he suffered an ankle injury which caused him to miss fifteen games. He finished the season averaging 14.4 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in 67 games.
Prior to the start of the 2007–08 season, Okafor turned down a contract extension with the Charlotte Bobcats worth an estimated US$60 million over five years. Despite turning down the contract, Okafor maintained that he indeed wanted to remain with the Bobcats. Despite feuding with head coach Sam Vincent throughout the season, Okafor still managed to average a double-double for the fourth consecutive season of his career. He also played in all 82 games of the regular season for the first time in his career. At the end of the season head coach Sam Vincent was fired by part-owner Michael Jordan saying in a statement: "The decision to remove Sam as head coach after just one season was difficult, but it was a decision that had to be made because my first obligation is to do what is in the best interest of our team."
During the off-season, the Bobcats' top priority was to re-sign Okafor. Through tough negotiations the Bobcats and Okafor eventually reached an agreement on a six-year, $72 million deal, the largest in franchise history. In a statement, Okafor voiced his pleasure with remaining in the organization: "The Bobcats and the entire Charlotte community embraced me from day one, and it's exciting to enter this season with a Hall of Fame coach and teammates who are committed to winning."
Okafor entered the 2008–09 season with active franchise-record streaks of 93 consecutive games played and 92 consecutive games started.
On July 28, 2009, Okafor was traded to the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for Tyson Chandler. During the 2010–11 season, Okafor ended up making it to his first ever NBA playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers. Ultimately, the Hornets lost their first-round series 4-2, with Okafor having a decrease in points and rebounding averages throughout the six games.
On June 20, 2012, Okafor was traded, along with Trevor Ariza, to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Rashard Lewis and the 46th pick of the 2012 NBA draft. Okafor went on to be named a finalist for the inaugural Twyman–Stokes Teammate of the Year Award for his contributions with the team on and off the court.
On October 25, 2013, days before the start of the 2013–14 season, Okafor was traded, along with a 2014 protected first-round draft pick, to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Marcin Gortat, Shannon Brown, Kendall Marshall and Malcolm Lee. However, he missed the entire season due to a herniated disc in his neck that was discovered in September 2013, and remained unsigned throughout the 2014–15 season, the 2015–16 season, and the 2016–17 season. On May 30, 2017, Okafor was medically cleared to play.
On September 25, 2017, Okafor signed with the Philadelphia 76ers. However, he was waived on October 14 after appearing in five preseason games. Later that month, he joined the Delaware 87ers of the NBA G League.
On February 3, 2018, Okafor signed a 10-day contract with the New Orleans Pelicans. He made his Pelicans debut two days later, playing in the NBA for the first time since 2013. He played nine minutes and had three points and two rebounds in a 133–109 loss to the Utah Jazz. He signed a second 10-day contract on February 14, and a rest-of-season contract on February 26. Filling in for the injured DeMarcus Cousins, Okafor averaged 4.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1 block in 26 regular-season games, including 19 starts. Okafor was waived by the Pelicans on September 19, 2018, just prior to the start of training camp.
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
Okafor's first name, Chukwuemeka, means "God has done well" in the Igbo language. He appeared on the cover of NCAA March Madness 2005 video game. Okafor appeared as himself in the second season of the TV show One Tree Hill.
The 2003–04 NCAA Division I men's basketball season began on November 10, 2003, progressed through the regular season and conference tournaments, and concluded with the 2004 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament Championship Game on April 5, 2004 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The Connecticut Huskies won their second NCAA national championship with an 82–73 victory over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.2004 NBA draft
The 2004 NBA draft was held on June 24, 2004, at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and was broadcast live on ESPN at 7:00 pm (EDT). In this draft, National Basketball Association teams took turns selecting amateur college basketball players and other first-time eligible players. The NBA announced that 56 college and high school players and 38 international players had filed as early-entry candidates for the 2004 draft. On May 26, the NBA draft lottery was conducted for the teams that did not make the NBA Playoffs in the 2003–04 NBA season. The Orlando Magic, who had a 25 percent chance of obtaining the first selection, won the lottery, while the Los Angeles Clippers and the Chicago Bulls were second and third respectively. As an expansion team, the Charlotte Bobcats had been assigned the fourth selection in the draft and did not participate in the lottery. The Minnesota Timberwolves forfeited their first-round pick due to salary cap violations.By the end of the draft, around 40% of the players selected in it were born from countries outside the United States. It would remain the highest influx of international players selected in the modern NBA draft era until the 2016 NBA draft, where almost half of the selected players were born in countries outside the US. In addition, four of the players selected in the draft were Russians, which not only marked the highest number of players born in that region to be taken in one draft, but also was the highest representation of a country in one draft until 2016 when five Frenchmen would be taken in the draft.
After the completion of the regular season, Emeka Okafor, the Bobcats' historical first rookie draft pick back when they were considered an expansion franchise, was named Rookie of the Year, while Ben Gordon earned the Sixth Man Award, becoming the first rookie in NBA history to do so.Dwight Howard has become an eight-time All-Star and has received seven All-NBA selections, and a three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year. He also had the distinction as the only NBA player straight out of high school to start all 82 games as a rookie. There are also four other players that would be named All-Stars at some point in their careers, and Al Jefferson would be named to an All-NBA team. The draft is also notable for many high schoolers being drafted within a few picks from each other.2004 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship Game
The 2004 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship Game was the finals of the 2004 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament and it determined the national champion for the 2003-04 NCAA Division I men's basketball season The 2004 National Title Game was played on April 5, 2004 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, The 2004 National Title Game was played between the 2004 Phoenix Regional Champions, #2-seeded Connecticut and the 2004 St. Louis Regional Champions, #3-seeded Georgia Tech.
Connecticut and Georgia Tech met in the semifinals of the 2003 NIT Season Tip-Off and Georgia Tech upset #1-ranked Connecticut with a 77-61 win on their way to winning the 2003 NIT Season Tip-Off.2004 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament
The 2004 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament involved 65 schools playing in single-elimination play to determine the national champion of men's NCAA Division I college basketball. It began on March 16, 2004, and ended with the championship game on April 5 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. A total of 64 games were played.
The NCAA named, for the first time, the four tournament regions after regional site host cities instead of the "East", "Midwest", "South", and "West" designations. It was also the first year that the matchups for the national semifinals were determined at least in part by the overall seeding of the top team in each regional. The top four teams in the tournament were Kentucky, Duke, Stanford, and Saint Joseph's. Had all of those teams advanced to the Final Four, Kentucky would have played Saint Joseph's and Duke would have played Stanford in the semifinal games.
Of those teams, only Duke advanced to the Final Four. They were joined by Connecticut, making their first appearance since defeating Duke for the national championship in 1999, Oklahoma State, making their first appearance since 1995, and Georgia Tech, making their first appearance since 1990.
Connecticut defeated Georgia Tech 82-73 to win their second national championship in as many tries. Emeka Okafor of Connecticut was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
As they had in 1999, Connecticut won their regional championship in Phoenix, Arizona.
Two of the tournament's top seeds failed to make it past the opening weekend. Kentucky, number one seed of the St. Louis region, and Stanford, #1 seed of the Phoenix region, both were defeated. Incidentally, both teams were defeated by schools from Alabama, as Kentucky fell to UAB while Stanford lost to Alabama.
Due to their strong 2003–04 season, Gonzaga achieved its highest NCAA tournament seed until 2013 by receiving the #2 seed in the St. Louis region. Gonzaga would receive a #1 seed in the 2013 tournament. The team failed to advance beyond the first weekend of the tournament, however.2004 NCAA Men's Basketball All-Americans
The Consensus 2004 College Basketball All-American team, as determined by aggregating the results of four major All-American teams. To earn "consensus" status, a player must win honors from a majority of the following teams: the Associated Press, the USBWA, The Sporting News and the National Association of Basketball Coaches.2004–05 Charlotte Bobcats season
The 2004–05 NBA season was the first season for the Charlotte Bobcats in the National Basketball Association. This season marked the return of NBA basketball to Charlotte after a two-year hiatus. The original Hornets had moved to New Orleans after the 2001–02 season to become the New Orleans Hornets, now the New Orleans Pelicans. The Bobcats had the second overall pick in the 2004 NBA draft, which they used to select Emeka Okafor out of the University of Connecticut, and hired Bernie Bickerstaff as head coach during the offseason. The Bobcats played their first game at the Charlotte Coliseum on November 4, which was a 103–96 loss to the Washington Wizards. They would win their first game defeating the Orlando Magic 111–100 at home on November 6. However, the expansion team struggled losing ten straight games in January and March, finishing fourth in the Southeast Division with an 18–64 record. Okafor averaged 15.1 points, 10.9 rebounds, 1.7 blocks per game and was named Rookie of The Year.
At the time, this was reckoned as the inaugural season of the Bobcats. However, after the 2013-14 season, the Bobcats reclaimed the Hornets name and pre-2002 history after the original Hornets team changed its name to the Pelicans. As a result, this is now considered the 15th season of the Hornets/Bobcats franchise, the team having returned after suspending operations from 2002 to 2004.2004–05 NBA season
The 2004–05 NBA season was the 59th season of the National Basketball Association (NBA). It began on November 2, 2004 and ended June 23, 2005. The season ended with the San Antonio Spurs defeating the defending-champion Detroit Pistons, 4–3, in the NBA Finals.2006–07 Charlotte Bobcats season
The 2006–07 Charlotte Bobcats season was Charlotte's 17th season in the National Basketball Association (NBA), and their third as the Bobcats.2007–08 Charlotte Bobcats season
The 2007–08 Charlotte Bobcats season was the 18th season of NBA basketball in Charlotte in the National Basketball Association (NBA), and their fourth as the Charlotte Bobcats.
Charlotte finished 32–50 for the season and didn't qualify for the playoffs. Despite a frenzy of offseason moves, including trading for Jason Richardson and hiring new coach Sam Vincent, the Bobcats were unable to build on their successful 33–49 season in 2007. As a result, Vincent was relieved of his duties soon after the season ended, and replaced by veteran hall of fame coach Larry Brown three days later.2008–09 Charlotte Bobcats season
The 2008–09 Charlotte Bobcats season was the 19th season of the NBA basketball in Charlotte in the National Basketball Association (NBA), and their 5th as the Charlotte Bobcats.
The previous season, Charlotte finished 32–50 under coach Sam Vincent, and did not qualify for the playoffs. In response to the dismal season, co-owner and basketball operations chief Michael Jordan fired Vincent and brought in veteran coach Larry Brown. True to his reputation for turning teams around, Brown kept the young team in playoff contention well into April. They ultimately finished four games short of the first playoff appearance in their current incarnation.2009–10 New Orleans Hornets season
The 2009–10 New Orleans Hornets season, was the team's 8th season of the franchise in the National Basketball Association (NBA)2010–11 New Orleans Hornets season
The 2010–11 New Orleans Hornets season was the 9th season of the franchise in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
The 2011 Playoffs was the final time the New Orleans Hornets made the playoffs before changing the team's mascot to "Pelicans" in 2013. The Hornets fell to the back-to-back reigning champions the Los Angeles Lakers in six first-round games. The Lakers would go on to be swept by the Dallas Mavericks in four Western Conference Semifinal games. The Mavericks would on go to be NBA Champions that year, a franchise first and their second time making the finals.
After 6 years, this season marked the end of the Chris Paul era as he was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers during the lockout after the season. Believed by many as the greatest Hornet/Pelican of all time, Paul was originally going to be traded to the Lakers in a 3-team deal that would send Lamar Odom, Goran Dragic, Luis Scola, and Kevin Martin to the Hornets and Pau Gasol to the Houston Rockets, but NBA Commissioner David Stern had controversially vetoed the trade.2011–12 New Orleans Hornets season
The 2011–12 New Orleans Hornets season was the 10th season of the franchise in the National Basketball Association (NBA). For the first time since the 2004-05 season, Chris Paul was not on the roster as he was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers during the lockout. Paul was supposed be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers but then commissioner David Stern vetoed the trade. The post-Chris Paul era Hornets finished the shortened season with a 21-45 record, last in the Western Conference.2012–13 Washington Wizards season
The 2012–13 Washington Wizards season was the 52nd season of the franchise in the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the 40th in the Washington, D.C. area. Jason Collins was on this team when he became the first active NBA player to publicly come out as gay.Charlotte Hornets accomplishments and records
This is a list of the accomplishments and records of the current Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets, known from their creation in 2004 until May 2014 as the Charlotte Bobcats, are an American professional basketball team currently playing in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
The current Hornets are the second NBA team to have played under that name. The original Hornets played in Charlotte from 1988 until moving to New Orleans in 2002; since 2013, they have been known as the New Orleans Pelicans.List of NCAA Division I men's basketball career blocks leaders
In basketball, a block (short for blocked shot) occurs when a defender deflects or stops a field goal attempt without committing a foul. The top 25 highest blocks totals in NCAA Division I men's basketball history are listed below. The NCAA did not split into its current divisions format until August 1973. From 1906 to 1955, there were no classifications to the NCAA nor its predecessor, the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS). Then, from 1956 to spring 1973, colleges were classified as either "NCAA University Division (Major College)" or "NCAA College Division (Small College)". Blocks are a relatively new statistic in college basketball, having only become an official statistic beginning with the 1985–86 season.Many well-known players, such as Hall of Famers Ralph Sampson, David Robinson and Hakeem Olajuwon accumulated college block totals that would have placed them in the top 25 all-time if they had not played before blocks were a recognized statistic. Olajuwon played for Houston and accumulated 454 blocks in his three-year career. Robinson, meanwhile, evenly split his four-year career at Navy between the pre-block and the recognized-block statistical eras. For his entire college career, Robinson recorded 516 blocks, but since only his junior and senior seasons' block totals are officially recognized, his two-year sum of 351 blocks does not even rank in the top 25 all-time. Jarvis Varnado of Mississippi State, therefore, holds the Division I record for career blocks with 564. He played for the Bulldogs from 2006–07 through 2009–10 and surpassed Wojciech Myrda's mark of 535 during his senior season. Although Varnado ended with 29 more blocks than Myrda, it took him 26 more games—nearly the amount of a complete season—to finish with that total.Two of the top eight shot blockers played college basketball for only three seasons. Adonal Foyle of Colgate recorded 492 blocks in just 87 career games before he left one season early for the National Basketball Association (NBA). Foyle would get drafted 8th overall by the Golden State Warriors in the 1997 NBA draft. Meanwhile, Shawn James played in 83 games while registering 443 blocks. James played for two seasons at Northeastern before transferring to Duquesne for one season. At the conclusion of his junior year in 2007–08, James hired an agent after declaring himself eligible for the 2008 draft, thereby forgoing his final season of NCAA eligibility. He was never drafted.Two schools on this list have two players represented. Connecticut's Emeka Okafor and Hasheem Thabeet each played three years for the Huskies before also declaring themselves for the NBA Draft. Northwestern State's D'or Fischer and William Mosley are both on this list, but Fischer only played for two seasons at Northwestern State before transferring to West Virginia.Maker Faire Africa
Presently curated and organized by Emeka Okafor, Henry Barnor and Jennifer Wolfe, Maker Faire Africa is an international organization co-founded by Mark Grimes (Ned.com) Emeka Okafor (TED Africa), Lars Hassleblad Torress (IDEAS Global Challenge), Erik Hersman (Afrigadget) and Nii Simmonds (Nubian Cheetah). Maker Faire Africa aims to engage with on-the-ground breakthrough organizations and individual makers to sharpen focus on locally generated, bottom-up prototypes of technologies that solve immediate challenges to development.New Orleans Pelicans accomplishments and records
This page details the all-time statistics, records, and other achievements pertaining to the New Orleans Pelicans.UConn Huskies men's basketball
The UConn Huskies men's basketball program is the intercollegiate men's basketball team of the University of Connecticut, in Storrs, Connecticut. They currently play in the American Athletic Conference (The American) and are coached by Dan Hurley.
The Huskies have won 4 NCAA Tournament Championships (1999, 2004, 2011 and 2014), which puts the program at sixth-most all-time. The Huskies are tied for the most Big East Tournament Championships with Georgetown at seven each. The Huskies also have the most Big East regular season titles with ten and one American Athletic Conference Tournament Championship. Numerous players have gone on to achieve professional success after their time at UConn, including Cliff Robinson, Ray Allen, Richard Hamilton, Kemba Walker, Ben Gordon, Emeka Okafor, Caron Butler, Jeremy Lamb, Andre Drummond, Shabazz Napier, and Rudy Gay. The Huskies have participated in 5 NCAA Final Fours (tied for 13th all time) and appeared in the NCAA tournament 33 times. The team has been a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament 5 times, most recently in 2009.