College Basketball Insider

Shabazz Muhammad's father caught lying about his son's age

People in basketball circles have long believed Ron Holmes is a shady character.

The Los Angeles Times proved it Friday.

The paper discovered that Holmes' middle child, UCLA star Shabazz Muhammad, wasn't born in Los Angeles and isn't 19 years old like Holmes has forever said. Muhammad was actually born in Long Beach and is really 20 years old, indicating Holmes has been lying about Muhammad's age. Here's the passage from the story:

According to the UCLA men's basketball media guide, he was born in Los Angeles on Nov. 13, 1993. But a copy of Shabazz Nagee Muhammad's birth certificate on file with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health shows that he was born at Long Beach Memorial Hospital exactly one year earlier, making him 20 years old — not 19 as widely reported.

How and when he lost a year of his life are unclear. But competing against younger, smaller athletes, particularly in the fast-growing years of early adolescence, can be "a huge edge," said Eddie Bonine, executive director of the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Assn. "People naturally look at the big, strong kids."

Asked about the discrepancy, Holmes insisted his son was 19 and born in Nevada. "It must be a mistake," he said. Several minutes later, he changed his account, saying that his son is, in fact, 20 and was born in Long Beach.

Exactly why Holmes misrepresented his son's age for all these years is unclear.

He did not respond to a message from CBSSports.com early Friday.

But the story details how Holmes has always believed he'd be the father of professional athletes, and there's no denying a year advantage over competitors growing up can be a huge advantage, and that a 19-year-old Muhammad is more attractive to NBA scouts than a 20-year-old Muhammad, if only slightly. Either way, the most interesting thing is that Holmes lied initially, initially lied when he got caught and then seemingly tried to bribe the Los Angeles Times writer. His name is Ken Bensinger. He wrote this in his story:

Holmes expressed concern about disclosure of his son's true age and his own criminal record and questioned whether either was newsworthy. He followed up with a text message. "Bazz is going to blow up in the NBA lets team up and blow this thing up!!!" Holmes wrote to this reporter. "I'm going to need a publicist anyway why shouldn't it be you. We can do some big things together."

None of this is to suggest Muhammad will go undrafted. He's talented. He'll go in June's lottery. But these developments indicate Holmes is just as calculated as most have always thought, and you can see why the NCAA was skeptical of his motives years before his son even enrolled at UCLA. Bottom line, we now know Holmes has been lying about one important thing. Isn't it fair to wonder what else he hasn't been honest about?

 
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