Hasheem Thabeet (born Hashim Thabit Manka on February 16, 1987) is a Tanzanian professional basketball player who currently plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the NBA. At 7 ft 3 in (2.21 m), Thabeet is the tallest active player in the NBA. He was drafted as the 2nd pick overall by the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2009 NBA Draft after playing with the Connecticut Huskies. Thabeet was the tallest player ever to play for the Huskies. He did not begin to play basketball until the age of 15, when he began to watch pickup games in Tanzania. When first recruited from Tanzania, Thabeet was fluent in Swahili and French but knew little English.
As a freshman, he averaged 6.2 points and 3.8 blocks per game. On December 3, 2006, Thabeet tied a UConn record with 10 blocks. Thabeet was named to the 2007 All-Big East Rookie Team, along with teammate Jerome Dyson.
As a sophomore he saw increased minutes and he averaged 10.5 points, 7.9 rebounds, 4.5 blocks on the season. On January 5, 2008, he tied his career high in blocks with 10 in the Huskies' 73-67 loss at University of Notre Dame. Thabeet was named Big East Defensive Player of the Year and to the Second Team All Big East.
As a junior at UConn, Thabeet emerged on the national scene, averaging 13.6 points and 10.8 rebounds. He earned his first career triple-double against Providence College on January 31, 2009, with 15 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocks. He finished with 152 blocks on the season, and he was known for the shots he prevented from ever being taken.
Thabeet surpassed the 1,000-point mark against Purdue on March 26, 2009. He was the third UConn player that season to do so (Jerome Dyson and A. J. Price were the others). Thabeet helped lead UConn to their first Final Four appearance since 2004.
In April 2009, Thabeet decided to forgo his senior season and declare for the 2009 NBA Draft. He was drafted 2nd overall by the Memphis Grizzlies. He became the first Tanzanian born NBA player.
2009–10 (rookie season)
In a November 10 game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Thabeet suffered a fractured jaw, and was out for a couple of weeks. On December 13, 2009, he had a season-high five blocks.
On February 25, 2010, the Memphis Grizzlies announced that they were sending Thabeet to the NBA Development League. He was assigned to the Dakota Wizards, the North Dakota affiliate of the Memphis Grizzlies. He was the highest drafted player ever to be sent to the NBA Development League. Thabeet was recalled on March 8, 2010.
On February 24, 2011 at the NBA trade deadline, Thabeet was traded to the Houston Rockets along with a first round pick in exchange for Shane Battier.
Thabeet once again was assigned to the D-League, this time to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers on March 21, 2011. On April 11, 2011, he was called up by the Houston Rockets.
On July 11, 2012, he signed as a free agent with the Oklahoma City Thunder. On November 26, 2012, in a 114-69 win over the Charlotte Bobcats, Thabeet recorded his first career double-double with 13 points (a career high) and 10 rebounds.