Basketball: Shareef completes academic mission

Shareef Abdur-Rahim, who left Cal for the NBA after one basketball season, doesn’t really need a college degree. After all, he earned somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 million playing professional basketball, and a bachelors degree won’t really change that that equation.

But that’s exactly what Abdur-Rahim, 35, will be awarded on Monday morning in ceremonies at Zellerbach Hall.

And here’s what I think of that: Nice going.

Abdur-Rahim was the most gifted scorer I’ve ever seen play for Cal. He walked in the door and scored at least 30 points in each of his first three college games. He averaged 21.1 points per game as a freshman.

Then he left for the NBA, and was the third player picked in the 1996 draft. If the purpose of attending college is to prepare for a career, Abdur-Rahim did that better than most.

But he wasn’t content to attend classes for just one year, then begin collecting his NBA paycheck. Now an assistant general manager for the Sacramento Kings, Abdur-Rahim said in a statement that finishing his degree always has been his intention.

According to Jason Jones’ blog in the Sacramento Bee, Shareef compiled a 3.8 grade-point average on the path to his sociology degreee, which will provide a tremendous example to Atlanta area youth involved with his Future Foundation in his home state.

“Receiving my degree will be an extremely proud moment for me and my family,” Abdur-Rahim said. “I hope it will also help inspire many of the students our foundation proudly serves and encourages.”

Abdur-Rahim averaged 18.1 points during a 12-year NBA career. He was an All-Star. He won a gold-medal at the 2000 Olympics.

But his most impressive achievement may be the one that is being recognized Monday morning at Zellerbach Hall.

It’s the one he didn’t need to accomplish, but did anyway.


Jeff Faraudo

  • David


  • SteveNTEXAS

    What David says √√√√

  • Eric

    Fantastic story. Hopefully many top-flight athletes, whether Cal or not, follow his lead, which sets examples for all of the kids now in high school.

  • Kevin

    Very cool, great work Sharif. Besides Jason Kidd, he was the most talented player I’ve seen wear a Cal uniform.

  • Go Bears!

  • Easy Ed

    Outstanding acheivement from an outstanding man!

  • BillyrGoBears

    What a great moment for Cal Athletics! Congratulations to Shareef!

  • rollonubears

    Griffin Piatt

    Anybody see on the other boards that this guy is a walk-on for this year, as a safety/WR?


    The guy looks incredible. And he’s a straight A student. He’ll be starting and on scholarship as a sophomore. Maybe as a safety, but hopefully as a receiver. A very nice pickup by tedford, indeed.

  • daredevilfan

    What a great story. He is a great example. Very cool.

  • Juancho

    Wow. This is absolutely awesome.

  • SportsBrah

    Simply outstanding. I wish more athletes had the character and priorities of Shareef.

  • ConcordBear

    The fact that he accomplished something he did not have to, to set an example for people not as fortunate as him is awesome!
    Congrats to SAR.
    Since he works in Sacramento it would be great to have him part of Cal more frequently going forward. Tickets with KJ, around the department, whatever is possible.
    Hope Kidd will follow his lead when he is done in the NBA.

  • Mr. B

    Congrats Shareef, well done.
    Reminds me of having Kevin Johnson walk when we graduated withi Poli Sci degrees in 98.

    This kind of stuff is why, even tho we may criticize, our Cal spirit never dies.

    Go BEARS!

  • wehofx


    Congratulations Shareef.

    Go Bears!

  • Uh Huh!

    Considering all the chatter on this particular subject, let me ask this question:

    Who recruited Shareef?

    I know that he was attracted to come to college all the way cross country because of our Islamic Studies offering (or something like that, I think), but was it the much maligned Todd Bozeman who sealed the deal?

    Considering all the banter on boards about recruiting awesome idiots vs nice chumps, (as if that’s the only option) and that past regime vs the current one, this oughta give folks something else to think about.

    Oh, gee, Shareef was a one and done, too, wasn’t he?!?!?!
    Who would turn him away today?
    Don’t aim too low, Bears.