HoopsHype Khalid El-Amin rumors

May 3, 2011 Updates

El-Amin is only 31 years old, but he's lived long years as a journeyman. He talks about his short NBA career as if it took place a lifetime ago. He's played in so many different European countries that it's difficult for even him to remember them all. "You know, in Europe, the game of basketball is kind of different," he says. "It's all about the team game in Europe. If you score 40 points and you lose, no one really cares about that it seems like, because you lost the game." He still talks like he's ready to walk out on the court tomorrow, but his leg won't let him. When asked about it, El-Amin downplays the injury. He hasn't bothered to watch the replay yet, so he can't really explain how it happened. "It was just a routine play," he says. "Next thing I knew, I was on the ground." citypages.com

El-Amin's dedication has not wavered in the 15 years since high school. After failing out of the NBA in his early 20s, El-Amin resigned himself to obscurity playing for a handful of listless teams around Europe. He has spent the past 10 years stubbornly trying to fight his way back the NBA. Earlier this year, he finally caught a break. El-Amin made it into the Euroleague tournament playing for a Lithuanian team, BC Lietuvos Rytas, at the highest level of basketball in the world outside of the NBA. "This is how he was really reborn after a few off-years," says David Landry of ESPN-affiliated Ball in Europe. "I mean, the Lithuanian media was loving this guy." But the freak injury sent him home prematurely. And while El-Amin is optimistic that he'll play next season, this could very well be the one blow that keeps him down for the count. "The more significant the injury, the harder it is," says Dr. Dan Kraft, a member of the American College of Sports Medicine. "The older the athlete, the more uncertain the healing becomes." citypages.com

The Euroleague was El-Amin's chance to play in the global spotlight for the first time since his stint with the Bulls. Though the Euroleague tournament pales in popularity compared to the NBA, it's the second-most prestigious tournament worldwide, broadcast in 191 countries. This was an enormous step up from the mostly obscure leagues El-Amin had played in Europe previously. "I would say, in terms of team, this is the culmination of his career," says Landry. "To play in Euroleague, that's the big stage. That's the highest level of competition, and it's really a level of competition where El-Amin can stand out." citypages.com

But as laid-back as El-Amin appears, he admits the injury has forced him to think seriously about his future. Though he's confident he'll be back in Lithuania at the beginning of next season, he's about to turn 32, and his dream of returning to the NBA has passed its expiration date. "The injury really made me think about life after basketball." In part, this means finishing the college degree he left incomplete more than 10 years ago. El-Amin says he plans to enroll at Augsburg College this summer while going through rehabilitation. He's undecided whether he'll pick up where he left off with his television production major. citypages.com

January 24, 2011 Updates

RealGM: Do you believe that Europe is a place, where you will finish your career? Khalid El-Amin: Yes, I think it’s safe to say that. Europe has been very comfortable for me and very good to me. After each year I will pursue all my options and I will weigh all my options too, and we’ll see what will happen but probably I will finish my career in Europe. RealGM

November 28, 2010 Updates
August 8, 2010 Updates

If memory serves, the Bulls wanted to position El-Amin in Europe for a year to get him professional experience, and then bring him back as the point guard of the future. El-Amin thought he’d be a mini-Magic from the moment he stepped on the court in the NBA, because quite frankly, he was everywhere he’d been. He didn’t want to play in Europe and that got El-Amin and the Bulls off to a rocky start. He played that rookie season in Chicago, deep off the bench, and was released the next year. “When I got to Chicago, our team was so young … I didn’t have the veteran on the team to tell me, ‘relax, don’t worry, keep working hard, it’s a long season.’ I didn’t have that person. So unfortunately it didn’t work out.” New Haven Register

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