Center Hamed Haddadi has played all five seasons of his NBA career with the Memphis Grizzlies up until this past January in which he was traded to the Toronto Raptors. Before he ever stepped onto the court for the Raptors, Haddadi was dealt to the Phoenix Suns last week. He has decided to wear a new number with his new team in a way that pays tribute to his home country.
The Iran native has chosen the No. 98 opposed to the No. 15, which he has worn his entire career. The No. 98 refers to Iran’s country code for when someone calls from the United States. It may be a subtle way to pay tribute, but the fact that there is a special meaning behind the number change is pretty special. Not to mention, since Haddadi is the only Iranian to ever grace the NBA, it is only appropriate that he does some sort of shout out to his country every time he steps onto the court.
Haddadi has averaged 2.0 points, 2.1 rebounds, 0.5 blocks and 6.7 minutes per game in 134 career appearances. He has also shot 46.4 percent from the floor and converted 66.0 percent of his free throw attempts. The Suns are hoping that he will be able to contribute more for them then he has in the past.
The 27-year-old did not spend much time as a member of the Raptors because there was a difficult process in order for him to enter the country due to Canada’s immigration laws. General manager Bryan Colangelo had to discuss possibilities with the Raptors’ immigration lawyers of how to get Haddadi to Toronto. Obviously, it was much easier to trade the big man.