NBA

Shareef Abdur-Rahim Gets NBA Presidential Paychecks

Shareef Abdur-Rahim retired from the NBA more than a decade ago. Yet, the former All-Star has never truly stepped away from the game. Following a terrific 12-year career that saw him emerge as one of the league’s top scorers, Abdur-Rahim has managed to carve out quite a secondary profession as an NBA front-office executive. And while his playing day paychecks are long gone, he’s still getting paid well as the president of a professional sports league.

Shareef Abdur-Rahim played 12 years in the NBA

The Vancouver Grizzlies selected Abdur-Rahim with the third pick of the 1996 NBA draft. He wasted no time making an immediate impact. As a 20-year-old rookie, the Georgia native averaged a team-high 18.7 points per game. By his second season, the 6-foot-9, 225-pounder became a force, averaging 22.3 points while playing in all 82 games. In fact, Abdur-Rahim topped 20 points per game in each of the next three seasons.

In the summer of 2001, the hybrid power forward got traded to the Atlanta Hawks for a package deal that centered around Pau Gasol. Abdur-Rahim continued scoring at a high level in Atlanta and earned his only All-Star selection in his debut season. However, he didn’t remain with the Hawks for long. In the middle of the 2004 season, Atlanta moved him to Portland in order to obtain Rasheed Wallace.

Abdur-Rahim remained with the Trailblazers until 2006. He played the final three years of his career in Sacramento. The underrated scorer retired with career averages of 18.1 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. Though he never won an NBA championship, he did earn a gold medal as a member of USA Basketball at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Former All-Star transitioned to NBA executive role after retirement

Upon retiring, Abdur-Rahim didn’t waste any time beginning a new career as a front-office executive. He actually spent two seasons as an assistant coach for the Kings before moving into a more prominent role as assistant general manager. During his tenure, Sacramento did not draft well. After landing DeMarcus Cousins and Hassan Whiteside prior to his arrival, Abdur-Rahim and the Kings missed badly on several first-round picks. The team took Thomas Robinson fifth overall in 2012, just one spot ahead of five-time All-Star Damian Lillard.

However, the Kings found Isaiah Thomas with the 60th pick of the 2010 draft. The 5-foot-9, 185-pound point guard went on to become one of the league’s most exciting scorers before injuries took a toll. The Kings routinely finished at the bottom of the NBA standings during Abdur-Rahim’s time as assistant GM. After spending one season as the general manager of the Reno Bighorns of the NBA G League, he moved into the NBA’s basketball operations department in 2016 and began climbing the corporate ladder.

Shareef Abdur-Rahim currently works as NBA G-League President

After serving as the NBA Vice President of Basketball Operations, Abdur-Rahim got his big break in December 2018. NBA G League President Malcolm Turner announced he would be leaving his position to become the Athletics Director at Vanderbilt University. And on December 11, 2018, NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum officially named Abdur-Rahim as the President of the NBA G League.

As the face of the basketball’s minor league system and the first Muslim-American to lead a North American pro sports league, the longtime NBA employee had a new list of duties. Some of those included implementing a new professional pathway system and increasing leaguewide expansion efforts. Tatum offered plenty of praise when Abdur-Rahim was named to the position:

“Shareef’s unique experiences as a player, team executive and member of the NBA’s Basketball Operations department make him a fantastic fit to be the next President of the NBA G League,” said Tatum.  “He is well-prepared to build on the tremendous progress that the NBA G League has made under Malcolm, who deftly oversaw a pivotal period of expansion and transition.  We thank Malcolm for his lasting contributions to the NBA and the NBA G League and wish him the best at Vanderbilt.”

A father of two, Abdur-Rahim earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of California in 2012. He also obtained an MBA from USC in 2016 before embarking on his impressive NBA executive career that now includes the title of NBA G League President.