Shabazz Muhammad’s Father Changed His Age to Make Him Younger

by March 22, 2013

The LA Times has a deep-dive look at the way Shabazz Muhammad’s father steered his son from childhood to the NBA’s doorstep, and potentially on the verge of stardom. One of the key revelations in the story is that Ron Holmes took a year off Muhammad’s true age (he’s actually 20 years old, not 19 as officially stated by UCLA. This could have major implications at the NBA Draft.) A truly fascinating read; you should check out the whole thing: “Hoops lovers fixated on Muhammad highlight reels have missed the real show. Off the court, Holmes has been putting on a clinic on how to mint an NBA millionaire. He made sure Muhammad worked out with some of the sport’s finest trainers. He enrolled his son in one of the nation’s best high school basketball programs. He helped create a team tailored to showcase his boy’s strengths in the high-profile summer circuit. And somewhere along the line, a year was shaved off his son’s stated age, giving Muhammad an edge over players in his age group. But Holmes’ real genius has been navigating the cutthroat realm of college basketball. It’s a world in which school athletic departments, coaches and TV networks reap millions while young athletes, in Holmes words, are left with ‘crumbs.’ The father decided long ago that he would make the system work for him. For years, Holmes has tirelessly promoted the Shabazz Muhammad brand to scouts, journalists, money managers and others. Holmes navigated every difficulty, including a potentially devastating NCAA sanction that ultimately sidelined his son for only a few games. With Muhammad now projected as a top-five pick in June’s NBA draft, Holmes’ investment is about to pay off. ‘Basketball is a business, and he handled everything — all the coaches, all the scouts,’ said Grant Rice, Muhammad’s coach at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas. ‘He took care of his son.’ The selling of Shabazz began before he was born. In the early 1980s, Holmes was a 6-foot-5 standout guard for USC. He never made it to the pros. But he was already thinking far into the future. As a student, Holmes said, he found himself fascinated by the careful breeding of thoroughbreds, the way that two fast, powerful horses could be crossed to create an even faster, more powerful colt. Around that time he met Faye Paige, a point guard, sprinter and hurdler at Cal State Long Beach. Spotting her at a summer league game, Holmes recalled saying to a friend: ‘See that No. 10? She’s going to be my wife, and we’re going to make some All-Americans.'”