Tariq Abdul-Wahad (born November 3, 1974 in Maisons Alfort, France) was obtained by the Dallas Mavericks, along with Avery Johnson, Nick Van Exel and Raef LaFrentz on February21, 2002 from the Denver Nuggets, in exchange for Tim Hardaway, Juwan Howard, Donnell Harvey and a first round draft selection in 2002.
Abdul-Wahad was born Olivier Saint-Jean and came to the United States to play basketball at the University of Michigan. He transferred to San Jose State for his final two seasons where he wrote his name in the record books several times. As a junior, he averaged 17.2 points and was named All-Conference while leading the Western Athletic Conference in scoring. The nest season, his senior year, his scoring average rose to 23,8 ppg. He was again named All-Conference and All-American. Today he still ranks second all-time in the number of 30-point games with eight. He's eighth all-time in Field Goals Made and 10 all-time in points scored.
Saint-Jean was drafted in the first round of the 1997 NBA draft by the Sacramento Kings. Just before his rookie season began, he changed his name to Tariq Abdul-Wahad embracing his Muslim faith. His first name means "Morning Star" and his last name means "Servant of the One God". Appearing in 59 games his first year, the most he would ever play in a single professional season, he averaged 6.4 ppg.
Although injuries kept him to ten less appearances his second season, he was able to raise his scoring average to 9.3 points and help the Kings to the NBA Playoffs. Despite the improvement Sacramento traded Abdul-Wahad during the offseason to Orlando, along with a first round draft pick, for Nick Anderson.
Recognized primarily as a defensive specialist, he posted the best numbers of his professional career with the Magic (12.2 points and 5.2 rebounds through 46 games) before being traded in the middle of the season, along with former Maverick Chris Gatling to the Denver Nuggets. Missing 24 games the remainder of the season with Denver, he still managed to average 8.9 points in 15 games. He recovered enough in the offseason that he was able to play on the French bronze medal-winning team in the 2000 Summer Olympics.
The 2000-2001 season was much of the same for Abdul-Wahad as he missed 38 games due to injury. He saw action in only 29 games averaging a career-low 3.8 points. The next season again saw the 6'6 guard hampered by injury. Beginning the season with the Nuggets, he saw action in 20 games while missing 31 games because of arthroscopic surgery to his left knee. On February 21, 2002, Denver traded him to the Dallas Mavericks in a multi-player transaction. He managed to get in four games for Dallas before the end of the season but did not score.
With the Mavericks in '02-'03, Abdul-Wahad appeared in the least number of games in his pro career, only 14, in what would be his final NBA season. His managed a 4.1 ppg average but did help Dallas into the playoffs that season actually playing in eight playoff games.
He spent the next two seasons on the injured list before being released on September 28, 2005. Abdul-Wahad was invited by Climamio Bologna of the Italian League to a tryout but was not signed marking the end of his basketball career.
He turned to coaching following his playing days and was named assistant women's coach at Cal State - Monterey Bay, a Division II school, in 2011. He moved on in 2012 to become head coach at Lincoln High School in San Jose.
Tariq Abdul-Wahad enjoys the distinction of being the first player born and raised in France to compete in the National Basketball Association and was honored when his alma mater, San Jose State, retired his jersey (#3) in a ceremony on February 2, 2002. The jersey reads "Saint-Jean" since that was his name at the time he was in college.