Shabazz Muhammad played his college basketball at UCLA. In his first season in the Pacific-12 Conference, he was named to the All-Pac-12 first team and voted co-Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.
Muhammad went to Bishop Gorman High School, where he was named Mr. Basketball USA and Naismith Prep Player of the Year in his senior year. He was one of the top rated college basketball recruits in the class of 2012. CBS college basketball analyst Greg Anthony called Muhammad a "once-in-a-generation talent." After one season at UCLA, he was selected in the first round with the 14th overall pick of the 2013 NBA Draft.
Muhammad was born in Long Beach, California to Ron Holmes and Faye Muhammad. Holmes was a 6'5" standout, four-year starting point guard for the USC Trojan's men's basketball program in the 1980's. He went by names including Ronald Muhammad and Rashad Muhammad, but settled on Ron Holmes after never finishing his religious conversion. His wife Faye was a point guard and track star at Long Beach State.
Shabazz Muhammad was the second of three children. His older sister Asia became a professional tennis player and younger brother Rashad played basketball in high school. When Muhammad was six years old, he was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome.
Muhammad attended high school in Las Vegas Valley in Nevada at Bishop Gorman High School, a Catholic high school with a $12,000 annual tuition that possessed a competitive athletics program. He became one of the few freshman to make their varsity basketball team. In his junior year, Muhammad led Bishop Gorman averaging 25.1 points and 7.7 rebounds for the season. Muhammad was also named the 2011 Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Nevada. Muhammad was also the 2011-12 high school diary keeper for SLAM Magazine.
Muhammad played in the 2012 McDonald's All-American game, where he led the West team to a 106-102 victory over the East team and was named the MVP of the game with 21 points and 6 rebounds. Muhammad also participated in and won the 2012 Powerade Jam Fest Dunk Contest. He was rated as the #2 player in the class of 2012 in the ESPNU 100, the #2 player by Scout.com and the #1 player by Rivals.com.
Boasting scholarship offers from scores of basketball programs, Muhammad's final list of schools was Duke, Kentucky and UCLA. On April 11, 2012, Shabazz announced he would attend UCLA. Muhammad was declared ineligible to play hours prior to UCLA's 2012-13 season opener against Indiana State due to alleged violations involving the NCAA's amateurism rules surrounding unofficial university visits. The NCAA ruled he had received benefits for travel expenses and lodging from family friend Benjamin Lincoln, who had befriended Muhammad's father when Shabazz was in the 7th grade, during unofficial visits to Duke and North Carolina. After missing three games and an appeal by UCLA, he was reinstated and his family was required to repay approximately $1,600. Days before his reinstatement, several media outlets reported the boyfriend of the NCAA's lead investigator boasted publicly that the NCAA would find him ineligible eight days after the investigation commenced. The NCAA subsequently fired the investigator that was involved in the case.
Shabazz scored 15 points off the bench in his debut in a 78-70 loss to Georgetown in the semifinals of the Legends Classic. He became a starter in the next game against Georgia and he scored a game-high 21 points in a 65-60 win in the Classic's consolation game. Muhammad would then get a college-high 27 points, including a game-winning three-pointer, in a 97-95 overtime victory against #7 Missouri. He scored a game-high 23 points in an 84-73 road win over #6 Arizona.
Muhammad was named to the All-Pac-12 first team and was voted the co-Pac-12 Freshman of the Year along with Jahii Carson of Arizona State. Muhammad finished the season averaging 17.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.1 blocks per game. He shot 44.3% from the floor and made 71.1% of his free throws. While his scoring ability was unquestionable, he was not the flashy offensive player that was expected upon his signing. Muhammad struggled in the postseason, shooting 39.7% (23-for-58) and averaging 15.3 points in four games. He was 0-for-10 on three-point field goals. He was a weak defensive player during the season, though he did show improvement.
On March 22, 2013, it was revealed in a report from the Los Angeles Times that Muhammad was actually born exactly one year earlier than his thought-to-be birthday of November 13, 1993. A copy of his birth certificate on file with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health shows that he was born at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center exactly one year earlier, making him 20 years old. Los Angeles Times assumes that this was to make Muhammad look better "competing against younger, smaller athletes, particularly in the fast-growing years of early adolescence", and compared the case to that of baseball's Danny Almonte. While Muhammad's father said the younger age in UCLA's media guide was "a mistake", numerous sources online show that Muhammad had been passing himself off as younger for years. On April 16, 2013, Muhammad declared he would enter the 2013 NBA Draft. While he began the season projected as a top-three draft pick, his stock fell to being viewed as back-end lottery pick. Muhammad was drafted 14th overall by the Utah Jazz after his draft rights were traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves along with the 21st pick (Gorgui Dieng) in exchange for the 9th overall selection (Trey Burke). On January 5, 2014, he was assigned to the Iowa Energy of the NBA D-League. In four games with Iowa, he averaged 24.5 points, shot 57.1% from the field, and had 9.8 rebounds per game. He played in the D-League Showcase, and was named to the All-Showcase Team.
On January 13, he was recalled by the Timberwolves. On February 8, with three teammates out injured, Muhammad scored 12 points in a 117-110 loss to the Portland Trailblazers. After playing sparingly for the Wolves most of the season, it was his first game playing over 10 minutes. On February 25, Muhammad played a season-high 24 minutes and scored a season-high 20 points in a 110-101 win over the Phoenix Suns; he scored 10 points while playing the entire fourth quarter, when he also had five of his six rebounds. On April 5, he sprained the medial collateral ligament (MCL) of his right knee against the Miami Heat, which forced him to miss the remainder of the season. He averaged 3.9 points per game for the season.
During the offseason, Muhammad lost weight and turned his offensive game, and he enjoyed an improved season in 2014-15 before suffering injuries. On December 30, 2014, Muhammad scored a career-high 30 points in a 100-94 loss to Utah. On January 9, 2015, he missed the fourth quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks after suffering a strained external oblique. The injury sidelined him for weeks after he had been performing well, averaging 16.9 points and 4.9 rebounds over his previous 20 games. Muhammad was selected to participate in the Rising Stars Challenge during the 2015 NBA All-Star Weekend. On February 21, 2015, he was ruled out for the rest of the season after requiring surgery for a torn ligament in his middle finger.
On October 21, 2015, Minnesota exercised his fourth-year team option for the 2016-2017 season.