The Who: Joel Przybilla

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Joel Przybilla (born October 10, 1979) is an American professional basketball player. A 7'1" (2.16 m) center of Polish and German descent, he currently plays for the Portland Trail BlazersNBA. His nicknames include "The Vanilla Gorilla" and "The Thrilla'."

High school career

Przybilla was born in Monticello, Minnesota, and attended Monticello High School, where he was coached by Max LaVelle of the Monticello Magic.

College career

He played two seasons at the University of Minnesota. He left Minnesota during the middle of his sophomore season.

NBA career

Przybilla was the 9th overall selection in the 2000 NBA Draft, chosen by the Houston Rockets, but traded the same day to the Milwaukee Bucks for their first round pick, Jason Collier and a future first round pick. After playing for the Bucks for 3+ seasons, on February 15, 2004, he was traded to the Atlanta Hawks in a three team trade. Upon free agency, Phoenix and Toronto showed interest but Portland was the only team offering guaranteed money and he signed for a reported $3.35 million over two years on August 24, 2004.He made an immediate impact averaging 7.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game in that 2004–2005 NBA season.

Przybilla became a free agent again at the end of the 2005–2006 season. After being pursued by several teams, he agreed to re-sign with the Blazers; the contract is reportedly for 5 years and US $32 million. Among his suitors were the Chicago Bulls, and the Detroit Pistons, seeking to replace the outgoing Ben Wallace. Bill Duffy, Przybilla's agent, explained his reasons for re-signing with the Blazers this way: "He's extremely loyal, and they gave him an opportunity two years ago when no one else did." At the same time, the Blazers' offer was the most generous, surpassing the Pistons' $29 million offer and the $24 million offered by the Spurs. On 22 March 2008, Przybilla pulled a career high 25 rebounds, two shy of the franchise record overall and one shy of franchise record in a regulation game.

On January 2, 2009, he was fined $7,500 and assessed a flagrant foul for striking Tyson Chandler.


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