The Curious Case Of Mohamed Dabone

It was shocking to see FC Barcelona forward Mohamed Dabone rise up in the lane, pull the ball back behind his head and drop a ferocious two-handed hammer dunk on the head of 7-0, 238lb OTE center Marcis Ponder (if you watch the highlights below you’ll know which dunk I’m talking about). What’s even more shocking is that Dabone is listed as being just 12 years old.

If he is indeed 12 years old he’s by far the most advanced athlete ever, in any sport, at his age. But many questions abound.

How Old Is Mohamed Dabone?

Earlier this year I saw him listed as a 13 year old. Last year he was listed as a 16 year old from Togoville, Togo on the FIBA 3×3 website. So what’s going on here? Now FC Barcelona lists him as a 12 year old. Has Dabone really gotten younger over the past year?

Dabone is believed to have been born in Burkina Faso, in West Africa, during a time of conflict and very possibly does not have a birth certificate. His real age might be unknown.

Still An Elite Talent

Whether he is 12, 13 or 16 he’s a special talent with athletic ability that is off the charts. He’s a blur in the open court, showing elite speed and his explosive leaping ability is stunning. He’s got size and awesome apparent length, although no wingspan measurement has been given. He’s a quick leaper, has awesome body control and is overall a world class athlete. Dabone does need to get a lot stronger but apparently has plenty of time to make that happen.

If Dabone is 12 years old he’s the best player that age in history. If he’s 16 he’s a special talent who could be one of the top picks in the 2027 draft. Those are both good outcomes but obviously there’s a big difference in those two statements. My best guess is he’s around 16 years old and an elite talent with all the upside in the world but an unrefined game.

On the offensive end Dabone does most of his work in the paint, although he does show the makings of a face-up game and an outside shot. On the defensive end he’s a devastating shot blocker, using his elite quick-leap ability to return to sender any attempted deliveries around the rim. He’s got good hands, quick feet and my lord almighty can he dunk the basketball.

Mohamed Dabone’s NBA Draft Year

This is the million dollar question. If he was born in 2011 as listed then he would be draft eligible in 2030. But chances are there will be some correction made before then and he’ll enter the draft sooner than that.

This is going to be an interesting and curious case to watch develop over the coming weeks, months and years. Grab the popcorn.