Monday, August 18, 2008

Hamed Hadadi vs the US Government

Most children have started back in school this week. In honor of this glorious event in a parent's life I thought it appropriate we have a little U S Government lesson. And naturally I am going to find a way to inject the Grizzlies into this civics lesson.

No. There won't be a test at the end so you can relax.

By now most Grizzlies fans have heard the rumors about Hamed Hadadi's interest in playing for the Memphis Grizzlies this coming season and suspected the Grizzlies have a similar interest in signing him as well. After all the 7-2 Iranian is leading the Olympics in rebounding, 2nd in blocks and has played well for a particularly poor Iranian team that has little talent outside of Hadadi.

Unfortunately signing an Iranian is not as easy as signing a Spanish player (and as Memphis knows signing Spaniards isn't that easy). Hadadi is an unrestricted free agent. That is clear. However, the NBA has contacted all 30 teams and informed them “We have been advised that a federal statue prohibits a person or organization in the United States from engaging in business dealings with Iranian nationals” according to Yahoo Sports.

So the US Government has put up road blocks. Iran is one of the 'Axis of Evil' countries and Americans aren't allowed to enter into contracts with Iranian citizens without a background check. We can't have any terrorists coming into the country after all. The NBA is acting to get an 'OFAC license' on behalf of all 30 NBA teams plus the NBDL teams. This would allow any team in the league including NBDL teams to enter into a contract with Hamed.

What is an OFAC license? OFAC stands for Office of Foreign Assets Control and is a division of the Treasury Department. These are the guys who freeze foreign assets in times of domestic concern.

You may not realize this but freezing assets and issuing sanctions has been around a lot longer than the Patriot Act too. During the War of 1812 Secretary of the Treasury Gallatin administered sanctions against Great Britain. During the Civil War congress approved laws prohibiting transactions with the Confederacy. The OFAC actually replaced the Office of Foreign Funds Control which was created during WWII following the German invasion of Norway. The idea was to stop the Nazi's from repatriating funds in the US to be used against the US in the war. The OFAC was originally established during the Korean conflict against China attempting to do the same thing.

Now joining the Nazi's and the Red Army of China we have Hamed Hadadi. Wow! Now that is some auspicious company wouldn't you say?

Basically the OFAC prohibits any financial dealings with individuals or country's on the banned countries list. There are naturally exceptions made all the time but protocol has to be followed and that is what the NBA is doing presently on Hadadi's behalf.

There is little doubt that the license will be issued and Hadadi will be able to sign with a team in the NBA. The problem is that he played really well in the Olympics. Sure he is slow footed and never played anywhere outside of Asia prior to the Olympics and the Utah Summer League but he created quite a stir in those appearances. The longer this takes the more possible it is for some other team to convince him to sign with their team. That is never good for Grizzlies fans.

So what are we talking about? How good is Hadadi?

Hadadi is basically a 23 yr old, inexperienced, slow big man who scores with either hand, rebounds well, doesn't mind mixing it up under the basket and shoots a decent Free Throw percentage. And let's be honest, there aren't a lot of 7-2 centers around right now capable of doing those things who don't cost multi-millions to acquire. Will he be a star in the NBA? Probably not but he is worth a look.

Here's hoping the US Government acts quickly enough for the Grizzlies to sign him before someone else starts whispering in his ear.

Related Stories:
Hadadi Hits Out at NBA Legal Counsel
Trading with the Enemy
US Should Allow Iranian to Fulfill NBA Dream

BallHype: hype it up!


Lee Eric said...

Nice post.

For the record, I think it's Ehadadi. (with an E).

And I think he'd supply some support off the bench, if he gets here.


Chip Crain said...

I have no idea how to spell his last name. On his jersey there is no E and in the article (from a real Iranian journalist) the title doesn't have an E in the last name so I went with those two guides.

I wish someone knew how to actually spell his name!

MemphisX said...

Very informative.

Wallace is doing a good job.

Wang McMuffin said...

Very nice civics/history lesson for the folks :)

There may not be a direct translation of the name, so you might see different "official" spellings because the Persian alphabet doesn't translate directly to the english/latin alphabet. Kinda like how with Arabic you see Osama/Usama, or for chinese you see Mao Zedong/Tse-tung.

amir said...

its not EHADADI
its hadaddi
E stands for EHSAN . his first name

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