Foreign Born Celtics – Alaa Abdelnaby | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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Foreign Born Celtics – Alaa Abdelnaby

2The offseason becomes extremely boring, especially for writers who are trying to find things to do.  Something I have been running on my personal blog is an “NBA Foreigners” category, where I will do a feature on a different foreign-born NBA player.  This being a Boston Celtics website, I will keep it to players who have been privileged enough to don the green clover.

For my first Celtic Foreigner, I wanted to make it as obscure as possible, so much so that I don’t even remember this guy.  Born in Cairo, Egypt, Alaa Abdelnaby was mostly a journeyman throughout his career playing for 5 teams in 5 seasons. Alaa wore number 4 for Boston during the 92’-93’ and 93’-94’ season, playing his best basketball his first year in Boston averaging 8.2 points and 4.8 rebounds and career high of 18.3 minutes per game. 

Alaa got to cherish a few important memories while in Boston. During his first season he got to witness the Larry Bird retirement ceremony and Kevin McHale’s final game.  he also was here for the Reggie Lewis tragedy (during the off season) and the passing of Johnny Most.  The Celtics are rich in tradition and history, and in this one-year, Alaa Adelnaby got to indulge in plenty of it.

Playing for a college powerhouse like Duke University helps Alaa understand what it means to be apart of something.  Earning Third Team All-ACC selection his senior year helped Abdelnaby gain national attention by being selected in the first round (25th overall) by the Portland Trailblazers.  The six foot ten inch center went to high school in New Jersey, which explains his hilarious personality.  Once quoted saying, “The only way I can make five A’s is when I sign my name,” regarding Duke’s academic requirements.

After his days in Boston, Alaa never seemed to last long with any other ball club. First signing with the Sacramento Kings on July 26th, later to be released on March 21.  Signing 4 days later with the Philadelphia 76ers to a 10-day contract that was extended another 10 days only to be released on the 9th day.  In 1995, Alaa signed with the Golden State Warriors to a one year contract but was released 12 days later.

Capping off his playing career, Alaa headed back overseas where he played for4 clubs in 4 years.  First starting in Greece with Papagou BC for a season followed returning to America with the Omaha Racers of the CBA (minor league basketball) only to fly back to Europe with the French league team Olympique Antibes. Lastly Alaa finished his career playing for the Idaho Stampede (CBA). 

Alaa was the first Egyptian born player to ever reach the professional level.  He also missed out on a couple of Duke championships leaving the year before the back-to-back teams.   Trying out television, he was reported awfully at it according to Celtics Stuff.  He apparently also had an anti-gay comment that got him some heat, I couldn’t find anything on it except them the article linked here. 

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  • As soon as I saw Alaa Abdelnaby i thought of the travel for a dunk (not called) seen above perfect early 90’s basketball. I liked his game when he played in boston, was a role player and nothing more. I think he was on the lazy side if remember great write up!

  • When I was a kid in the early 90s I remember when he was a starter, watching the games on Sports Channel I would always say his name really loud during the starting lineups much to the annoyance of my parents.

  • Yea Mchale would check in 4 minutes into the game I think Alaa played the first 4 minutes of every quarter.

  • Fun name to say, who wouldn’t want to pronounce it?

  • Alaa partied his way outa the league, but he did have some skills on the offensive end. I remember a game up in Portland when Adelman put him in during the 1st half…..he got to the scorer’s table only to realize he didnt have a full uniforn underneath….had to go back to the bench, where Adelman left him for the rest of the game. Kinda sums up his career too…