Craig Hodges Rumors
Craig Hodges: I followed my conscience and observed the obligation I felt toward my forebears and my community each of my 10 years in the league. I knew there would be consequences; I understood the price Black leadership paid in America, but somehow I thought that in a league comprising 75 percent Black players, I would get away with it. I was wrong. Now it was time to pay the price. It was the agents who shut me out of the league first.
Craig Hodges: My kids and I arrived in Salt Lake City a day before the competition. As we stepped off the elevator at the hotel, Dominique Wilkins walked toward us. I waved. The last time Dominique and I had spoken, he and I were laying the wreath on Martin Luther King Jr.’s gravesite. “The Human Highlight Film,” as Wilkins was nicknamed, dropped his eyes, turned, and walked in the other direction. “Come on kids, let’s get to our room,” I said, already feeling disillusioned less than an hour after arriving in Utah. What was being said about me? I was confused.
Craig Hodges: Charles Barkley approached me during warm-ups later that day. “I know what you are going through, man,” he said, as he sorrowfully patted my back. “If you know what’s going on, then speak about what you know, Chuck,” I said. But Barkley walked off without saying a word. Now I really wondered what was going on. I had been expecting a reunion, and all I found was cold shoulders and coded messages. I felt like I was floating in the middle of the ocean in a radioactive boat with no oars.
In researching what happened to you in 1996, you were fined, you were suspended and yet there the NBA had no rule against not standing for the national anthem. Why do you think they came down on you so hard? Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf: Well, it goes back, I think, to just the simple fact that as athletes, we’re not expected to [have] social or political positions. It seems like it’s OK to fall into other stereotypes. You have people on rape charges and that’s OK, we can accept that. But to be socially conscious, like a [Chicago Bulls guard] Craig Hodges or whoever, this is unacceptable. So let’s make an example to discourage other athletes from doing the same thing. And this is why I think it went down that way. Bernie [head coach Bernie Bickerstaff] called me into his office. I go down and he begins to tell me “hey they want you to stand or they’re going to suspend you.” I said, “Well, Bernie, tell them to do what they have to do.” I’m so naive at the time, I’m like, “look, well now can I go get dressed?” He said, “No you’re suspended now.” I said, “Well, can I put my clothes on and support the team?” He said “No, you’re not even allowed on the premises.” So I left. And then that’s when it hit the news and the rest is history.
Former Bulls Craig Hodges, John Paxson , Horace Grant , Steve Kerr , Bill Wennington , Pete Myers and Stacey King attended. Kerr came with his current Warriors assistant and former Bulls assistant Ron Adams, missing their shootaround to do so. Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg attended with his entire staff after his team’s shootaround. That included Mike Wilhelm, who quietly drove Bach to and from Bulls training camp practices last October in a consultant role that Bach cherished. “Brilliant mind,” Myers said. “He left an imprint.”