When NBA players returned to their teams post-lockout in December, it was a joyous time for all. People were finally getting back to work, like the GOP presidential candidates tell me our country needs, and there was a sense that a dark period had finally ended.
One player, though, was on the outside looking in. Memphis Grizzlies center Hamed Haddadi, a native of Iran, had signed a contract with his hometown team Melli Haffari Ahvaz. As he tried to get back to the Grizzlies, he had trouble getting a work visa with the American government. So, as the Grizzlies saw several big men suffer major injuries, Haddadi couldn't help out.
Thankfully, it seems as if the whole ordeal will be resolved soon, with an assist from Canada. From Ronald Tillery of The Memphis Commercial Appeal (via TrueHoop):
Reserve center Hamed Haddadi's long and drawn-out immigration process appears to be near its conclusion. Haddadi was not with the Grizzlies and instead traveled to Canada to pick up a work visa that has now been approved.
Haddadi likely will be in uniform by the weekend or early next week. But don't expect to see the 7-footer appear in a game anytime soon.
"He's got to get in shape and learn what we're doing," Hollins said. "He's weeks away from playing."
Tillery doesn't give details of the complications, but my guess is that it had something to do with Haddadi coming from Iran. Because, you know, our countries don't exactly have the best relations these days.
Whatever the case, congratulations to Haddadi and the Grizzlies for getting the whole thing worked out. Now he can watch all the Tebow highlights and 311 videos his heart desires.