TAIPEI (FIBA Asia Championship/FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Hamed Haddadi has struggled to make an impact in the NBA, where he has played since the 2008-09 season.
There has always been a smile on the face of Iran’s most famous basketball player, though.
For the past several months, it's been big one.
After rarely getting off the bench in Memphis, Haddadi was traded to the Phoenix Suns during the 2012-13 season and he enjoyed a lot more playing time.
Haddadi is now with Iran and garnering a lot of praise for his performances with the national team.
A leader in the side that captured gold at the 2007 and 2009 FIBA Asia Championship, Haddadi also gained experience at the biggest tournaments in international basketball.
He played at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and also at the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Istanbul.
The 2.18m center has only just been named as the MVP of the 35th William Jones Cup, a competition that was played in Chinese Taipei
The event is a warm-up tournament for the FIBA Asia Championship, which is tipping off in the Philippines on the 1st of August.
In Iran’s last victory that secured the William Jones Cup title, a 72-67 triumph over hosts Chinese Taipei, Haddadi had 17 points and 11 rebounds.
With Haddadi in the fold, Iran will always be among the gold-medal contenders at the FIBA Asia Championship.
Iran will be put to the test from the off in Group C, where they will take on defending champions China, Korea and Malaysia.
The top three sides in the tournament will clinch places at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.