Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf: He then said, “Well, there’s a couple of guys from the NBA office that want to talk to you.” We got on the phone. It wasn’t David Stern. I never spoke with David Stern—even though the media said that I went up there to meet him in New York. That was a lie. On the phone, I said, “This was my decision. This is what I have to do. You do what you have to do.” They didn’t even want me on the premises. So I had to leave the arena before the game. After, I ended up talking to a mentor of mine. He told me a story about the Prophet once standing when a Jewish funeral procession was passing by. If it wasn’t for that story, my career would’ve been over. I was prepared to not come back. He told me, “If you decide to not come back, that’s a noble decision and you’re not wrong for doing that at all. But if you decide to come back, and not for their cause but for a higher cause, then that’s also not wrong. So, you can come back and stand for those who are oppressed, you can pray for those, you can take positions for those, you can use your platform.”
December 3, 2021 | 11:35 am EST Update
There is optimism within the organization, though, that Lopez could return this season, per a team source. And while this is the 14th NBA season for the 33-year-old Lopez, Budenholzer told reporters the team does not believe this surgery has a chance to be career-threatening.
PJ Tucker was 1,500 miles away, on his way to FTX Arena in Miami for a game with his new team, but he had to pick up the phone to talk to you. He didn’t know that when his face, voice and highlights appeared in the championship video on ring night on Oct. 19 that Fiserv Forum rocked. But he’s heard you, felt you – and he’s looking forward to his return Saturday night to soak it all in once again.
“Hey, listen – you know what surprised me the most is how many fans are reaching out on e-mail, DM, everything, comments, talking about coming to the game,” he said in an interview with the Journal Sentinel. “It’s really … that part was the part that made me think back and really think about it even before I talked to you. Because you can’t, like, you can’t make that up. Guys go play for teams and win and people don’t care. People could care less. And I know that for a fact. “For the love I still get, even though I’m on an opposite team who their guys will battle this year and to still get that love, that’s what I’m saying about my experience in Milwaukee that nobody will ever understand: As short as it was, it couldn’t have been any bigger.”
It briefly left him searching for the right words as he tried to process what the city and its fans have meant to him. “I’ll always love Milwaukee,” he said. “I’ll love the people of Milwaukee forever. They embraced me so much from day one when I first got there to the day I left, they were always there, they always had my back. That’s not something you get right away. You don’t normally get the trust and the love of the city so fast. It was an amazing experience and journey.”
December 3, 2021 | 8:18 am EST Update
And Wall’s remaining money is significantly more than Walker’s was. For a Wall buyout to make any sense for the Rockets, Wall would likely have to give up even more than Walker did to the Thunder — and there’s next to no chance Wall could make that up in his next deal. At any rate, that hasn’t been seriously discussed by either side as a possibility. “It’s hard for him at this point in time, when your salary doesn’t equal what your production is,” a sympathetic front office person from another team said Wednesday. “That’s hard for him. It’s hard for a lot of guys.”