Iranian Heritage night at the NBA


Iranian Heritage night at the NBA
by bahmani

On Wednesday Night, November 4, 2009 yet another milestone for the Iranian-American community was achieved.

Thanks to Hamed Haddadi our best Iranian NBA player in history, who has been actively spreading the good vibes of basketball and Iranian-heritage through his personal appearances and camps for kids, the NBA's Golden State Warriors, hosted the Memphis Grizzlies at the Oracle Arena in Oakland.

The event was made even more spectacular by the fact that the evening was called Iranina Heritage night and more than 600 Iranians attended the event. The opening entertainment was none other than our very own local Niosha Dance Academy, who put on an entertaining dance performance for the audience in advance of the game.

As usual, there were beautiful dancers of all ages, in beautiful costumes, spinning and flying around the hardwood to wonderfully hard beat-driven Persian music, just like the Persian Parees of yore!

The audience loved it and of course the Iranians in the crowd cheered on the dancers loudly!

The opening national anthem was sung by Persian pop star Farshid Amin who was either overcome with emotion and/or simply forgot the words to the most important song of his life, and had to pause to compose himself, but then came back and finished a very strong rendition to the loud appreciation of the crowd.

During the game the arena cameras frequently showed on the center court jumbo-tron, groups of green "Iranian Heritage Night" t-shirt wearing crowds of Iranians who were pocketed in the stands throughout the cavernous stadium. And each time, cheers and roars erupted as they were seen by other Iranians in the crowd.

It was a very exciting event for families who had brought their kids to see the 7'2" Haddadi play. Alas he did not, and remained dressed in a very large, but well-fitting suit during the game. He was clearly disappointed, but managed to wave and smile regularly to the crowds of Iranians who cheered every time he looked up at them.

Why Haddadi did not play is still a mystery, given that the last time Hamed played against the Warriors he scored 10 points and pulled down 8 rebounds. No doubt Haddadi's absence from the action was one very arguable reason why the Grizzlies lost to Golden State 113 to 105!

A word of advice to the Grizzlies coach Mr. Lionel Hollins:

Clearly sir, you were unaware that 600 fans would have been on your side that nigt. Furthermore you are clearly unaware of how good an Iranian athlete can actually play when the Pressure of Persian Pride is on the line. Now, take that, and then factor it by 10, when that player also happens to come from Khuzestan!

The next time you visit the Bay Area, maybe you should let Hamed-jan play the next time?


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by yolanda on

Thank you for your article. Here is a video showing Farshid singing the National anthem:


He wore a green arm band in support of the people of Iran and became emotional while singing the anthem. When later asked why, he replied " I invisioned myself singing the anthem at the Azadi Stadium in Iran. The thought of it overwhelemed me."

I like your advice to the B-ball coach...apparently the coach underestimated the power of an Iranian player, the coach's poor judgement jinxed the game that night.



Mohammad Ala


by Mohammad Ala on

Behruz jaan;

Great.  I am glad our heritage was displayed and people enjoyed the event.


HollyUSA will you show us Ghasem Abadi dance after ur Bandari?!

by Anonymouse on

This night can only be possible in California.  If it was Haddadi's hometown in Tennesse, this would've been considered a Borat moment for the crowd, at best!

Way to go NBA! 

Everything is sacred.

Anahid Hojjati

Thanks Bruce for your article, Go Khuzestan

by Anahid Hojjati on


Dear Bruce, thanks for featuring that great night.  It was a night to remember .  Everything was great: Niosha Dance Academy dancers (including my daughter) dancing, Farshid singing, seeing Hamed, and also being close to vibe of so many Bay area Iranians.  I even got to see friends from my Portland days.  So Hamed is from Khuzestan.  That is great.  Today NBA, tomorrow NFL!