Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf Rumors

How are you feeling and processing everything right now? Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf: Outraged. But this is a feeling I’ve been having for many, many years, and I think Black people in general [have]. To constantly wake up to televised and broad-daylight public executions in what we would classify as the murder of Black people, with George Floyd being the most recent and visible casualty. It’s reminiscent of when you reach back in history where people used to send postcards of lynchings and burnings and mutilated bodies to share with their loved ones and their friends. Now it’s just video shared and it’s on television.
“But at that period of time, I was asking us to boycott in order to create some type of an ownership, black ownership within the league, having a league look reflective on the ownership level to what was on the court,” Hodges added. “And it continues today. You know, I seen yesterday, where the league is talking about some type of racial justice committee or whatever. I’m glad to see that. Hopefully, they’ll bring in Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf and myself and other players who I’m sure feel like they have been castigated in the past.”
David Fizdale: No matter how powerful, how rich or how famous you become, racism is an inevitable obstacle that black men face. As Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem, many of us in the sports world were asked, “What will you do?” While leading my team, would I kneel in support of Kaep? My answer was simple: If my team kneels, then I’m kneeling. This would no doubt anger some, and I asked myself, “Should I just shut up and coach?” Our team at that time decided not to kneel, but a big part of me lives in regret for not taking a knee. If more of us took that knee, where would we be as a country today? I don’t know. There was also a part of me that feared that protest would be putting my career at risk. Just like Kaep, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf or Muhammad Ali, who all had their careers damaged for protesting injustice.
Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, who was known as Chris Jackson during his collegiate days, will have his jersey retired by the LSU Tigers. Some would argue, likely rightly so, this is a long overdue honor. “By a unanimous decision, Mahmoud now joins one of the most elite groups in college basketball – the five men’s basketball players whose jerseys LSU has retired,” said LSU Director of Athletics Scott Woodward. “He’s one of the greatest of all time at LSU and incredibly deserving of this honor.”
In December, former NBA player, activist and author Etan Thomas came to Talking Stick Resort Arena with Emerald Garner to speak at a Suns players-only meeting. The nine-year NBA veteran also handed out copies of his third published book, “We Matter: Athletes and Activism.” Thomas’ book focuses on the intersection of race and politics in sports. It features interviews with several Basketball Hall of Famers including Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson, countless NBA all-stars and the Suns’ Jamal Crawford.
“I look at the series as the alternate history of the NBA,” Chopra said. “In watching this, it’s not ‘who are the best players and teams?’ We don’t really talk about Kobe Bryant. We don’t really talk about of the San Antonio Spurs. We talk about guys like Craig Hodges. We talk about Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, who was the original (Colin) Kaepernick. We walk about Allen Iverson. What’s really important here?”
What’s something you look back on and think you could have done better? Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf: A lot of things. My training could have better. My relationships could have been better. Even dealing with the flag thing, I could have been way more informed. Not that I wasn’t informed, but I could have been more informed, more articulate. Even playing basketball when I would sometimes have 50-something points. I learned even as a young man, from elementary on up, this is the way my mind works. When people tell me ‘Great game’ I say ‘Thank you’ and I mean it, but immediately I send messages to my mind and I say, ‘Never be satisfied, there’s always room for improvement,’ so that I won’t get comfortable.
When you protested, do you think the NBA Players Association lobbied enough for you? Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf: No, I don’t think so. To some degree, you want people to understand, you want people to be enlightened. Who doesn’t? If you share something with somebody, you want them to agree with you. At the same time, that really wasn’t my focus. I was so focused on where I was trying to go. I wasn’t focused on my career ending, who accepted it, who didn’t. I’m looking at my life as a child, the things I missed out on, things I didn’t learn, in a sense, systematically. Deliberately, as far as I’m concerned. I felt cheated.
There’s only one league for players unless they want to leave North America. Do you think the Big 3 could become an alternative over time? Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf: It’s an alternative now. Of course it’s not on the level of the NBA where it’s gonna sustain you like that financially, but it definitely has the potential to grow even more. Let’s face it: there are people here that are well off. There are people here too [where] this Big 3 is saving them financially. It’s giving them breathing room. That’s why I’m so big on trying to stay in shape. If my name was on it, I’d want guys to come in in shape. Just because somebody else’s name is on it doesn’t give us the right to not take care of our bodies, not come in and try to compete.
The story blew up when a local radio reporter noticed in 1996 and interviewed Abdul-Rauf about it, creating a national stir. “The media scene tried to make it and frame it like it was: ‘He’s a Muslim and he’s just about what happened to Muslims,'” Abdul-Rauf said. “The flag represents all these beautiful things. Well, I don’t see that when I look at the facts on the ground. It’s not representing what you say it’s representing. So as far as I’m concerned, I can’t honor this symbol that doesn’t represent those values.”
Abdul-Rauf called his meeting with Kaepernick a one-time thing, and he hasn’t communicated with him since. They didn’t even exchange phone numbers. With so many people trying to reach out to the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Abdul-Rauf doesn’t want to bother him. “I really think it’s something that shouldn’t even be in the sports,” Abdul-Rauf said of the anthem. “And his position didn’t even have anything to do with the flag itself. It had to do with basic equality. He used that to draw attention to the situation.”
Abdul-Rauf is well-read, citing Gore Vidal, Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn as influences, and remains steadfast in his convictions. “My position hasn’t changed,” he said. “Being a country that we say or claim or pride ourselves on being enlightened and civilized, we still have a long way to go with race relations. We have a long way to go with health care. We have a long way to go with education … It’s a lot that was going on in my head and still now today.”
The story blew up when a local radio reporter noticed in 1996 and interviewed Abdul-Rauf about it, creating a national stir. “The media scene tried to make it and frame it like it was: ‘He’s a Muslim and he’s just about what happened to Muslims,'” Abdul-Rauf said. “The flag represents all these beautiful things. Well, I don’t see that when I look at the facts on the ground. It’s not representing what you say it’s representing. So as far as I’m concerned, I can’t honor this symbol that doesn’t represent those values.”
Abdul-Rauf called his meeting with Kaepernick a one-time thing, and he hasn’t communicated with him since. They didn’t even exchange phone numbers. With so many people trying to reach out to the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Abdul-Rauf doesn’t want to bother him. “I really think it’s something that shouldn’t even be in the sports,” Abdul-Rauf said of the anthem. “And his position didn’t even have anything to do with the flag itself. It had to do with basic equality. He used that to draw attention to the situation.”
Abdul-Rauf is well-read, citing Gore Vidal, Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn as influences, and remains steadfast in his convictions. “My position hasn’t changed,” he said. “Being a country that we say or claim or pride ourselves on being enlightened and civilized, we still have a long way to go with race relations. We have a long way to go with health care. We have a long way to go with education … It’s a lot that was going on in my head and still now today.”
One agent, BJ Bass, said Trae Young “has the potential to be like Steph Curry.” An executive said Young was more like Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. An Eastern Conference scout, meanwhile, compared Young to an infamous draft-bust. “Young’s the best passer I’ve ever seen in college basketball,” the scout said. “But he couldn’t guard you. “Jimmer Fredette.”
He was also traded soon after to the Sacramento Kings, and by 1998, at 29, he was out of the league. He became, in essence, a cautionary tale as Colin Kaepernick pursues a case against the N.F.L. accusing it of colluding to deny him a job over his kneeling for the anthem last season. Abdul-Rauf did not get much support from his peers. “If you ask most players from that era, they’d say they regretted not supporting him more than they did,” Buck Williams, who in 1996 was president of the National Basketball Players Association, said in a recent telephone interview. “He was kind of left out on an island.”
What has been the typical reaction from teammates, coaches and executives when they find out you are Muslim? Abdul-Rauf: Initially, when I became a Muslim, it wasn’t looked at as a threat … And [people] say they’re Christians or they’re Jews, but you don’t necessarily see them practicing it, according to scripture. So, when I first became Muslim there was nothing. No concern on their faces. But when they saw me, ‘Hold on this guy is actually praying? He’s trying to find a closet and places to pray, talking about fasting.’ You know they had concerns about that, like, ‘I don’t think that’ll be a good thing.’ And, when they see you really trying to practice what you say you’re about, that’s when you start to see a little bit of the resistance as if though you’re not in this country club atmosphere.
When Abdul-Rauf takes the court with the Three-Headed Monsters in the BIG3 League on Sunday, his controversial story will certainly come back to life. ​“It’s nothing that I regret,” Abdul-Rauf said of his stance against the flag and anthem. “I’m still doing the same things. I’m still speaking out against what I see as injustice, whether it’s on college campuses or conventions. That hasn’t changed and I don’t plan on that changing. So, I still feel the same way.
The BIG3, the highly anticipated 3-on-3 professional basketball league, announced today Latrell Sprewell, J.R. Rider, Earl Boykins, Brian Cook and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf as the latest signings to its Draft player pool. Sprewell, Rider, Boykins, Cook and Abdul-Rauf join Kenny Anderson, Smush Parker, Jamario Moon, Ruben Patterson, and Etan Thomas as the first players signed to the upcoming draft. The BIG3 will announce new signings each Monday leading up to the Draft. Last week, the BIG3 also announced the name of the second team: Trilogy. Co-captained by Kenyon Martin and Al Harrington, Trilogy joins the 3 Headed Monsters as the first BIG3 teams.
3 years ago via BIG3
“The football team here at Mission had taken a knee,” Pusung-Zita said of the move in September, which generated national headlines after it was reported by The Chronicle, “and I was wondering if you had any comments about that?” Abdul-Rauf, standing in front of more than a hundred students in the early afternoon, took a pause before answering a question that has been at the center of sometimes fiery debate in recent weeks touching on sports, social justice and patriotism. “If it’s what you believe, then stick by it,” he said. “I’m a supporter, obviously.” The kneeling, Abdul-Rauf said, showed that “you’re willing to sacrifice and put yourself out there and stand up for what you believe in. … Never allow anyone to take that away from you. Never lose that freedom.”
But when players express their diverse points of view on controversial topics, leagues often struggle with how best to respond. Twenty years ago, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, a guard for the Denver Nuggets, declined to stand for the national anthem, and he was suspended indefinitely by the N.B.A. The league relented after one game, when Abdul-Rauf agreed to stand for the anthem on the condition that he be allowed to bow his head in prayer. “I think the world has changed in the last twenty years,” Tatum said, when I asked him about that precedent. In July, the Women’s National Basketball Association, which is backed by the N.B.A., fined players on three teams and their organizations for wearing black T-shirts during pregame warmups to protest recent shootings by, and violence perpetrated against, police officers.
 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.
The quicksilver guard who foreshadowed NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest is now living in Atlanta, taking care of his five teenage children along with his ex-wife, training NBA players, and giving occasional speeches to groups in black or Muslim communities. At age 47, he has no regrets about choosing the difficult journey that Kaepernick is just starting. “It’s priceless to know that I can go to sleep knowing that I stood to my principles,” Abdul-Rauf told The Undefeated. “Whether I go broke, whether they take my life, whatever it is, I stood on principles. To me, that is worth more than wealth and fame.”
Abdul-Rauf has never spoken to Kaepernick, and isn’t a football fan. But he supports the quarterback’s protest and message “1,000 percent,” saying that it created a valuable debate. “It’s good to continue to draw people’s attention to what’s going on whether you’re an athlete, a politician, or a garbage man. These discussions are necessary,” he said. “Sometimes it takes people of that stature, athletes and entertainers, because the youth are drawn to them, [more than] teachers and professors, unfortunately.”
His playing time dropped. He lost his starting spot. After his contract expired in 1998, Abdul-Rauf couldn’t get so much as a tryout with any NBA team. He was just 29 years old. “It’s a process of just trying to weed you out. This is what I feel is going to happen to [Kaepernick],” Abdul-Rauf said. “They begin to try to put you in vulnerable positions. They play with your minutes, trying to mess up your rhythm. Then they sit you more. Then what it looks like is, well, the guy just doesn’t have it anymore, so we trade him.”
Bernie Bickerstaff was the coach of the Nuggets at the time and went on SiriusXM NBA Radio Monday to talk about those days. His first reaction was that of virtually every coach who has heard or talked about Kaepernick. “Distractions,” Bickerstaff said. “It caused a lot of distractions, and you know at that point the number of media members was not quite as resounding as it is today. But still, it was a distraction.” Bickerstaff said he was blindsided byAbdul-Rauf’s decision, and he said they scrambled to deal with the fallout. He said he and the brain trust of the team eventually had a meeting with the guard and told him if he wanted to be on the team he had to stand for the anthem.
“We had him come in, to sit down and have a conversation, and the conversation was about, the one thing that we have in this life is freedom of choice, and with that choice comes consequences. And my conversation with him was simply that one of the guys I probably admired most at that time was Muhammad Ali, because not only did he make a decision not to step forward but it was the part of it, the things that he gave up, and our message basically to (Abdul-Rauf) was ‘Hey, that’s the guy I admire. If you really feel that way then you go home, and you give us a call and let us know you’re willing to walk away from that contract, and then I can really, really, respect that… “When he got home, we got a call and he said ‘I think I want to be on the trip.’ And that’s our understanding, if you’re on the trip, then you’re standing.”
According to an NBA source, Abdul-Rauf is working out solely with Grant, the rookie who had a big finish to an otherwise mediocre rookie season. Abdul-Rauf is not employed by the Knicks or the Liberty. Grant set it up through a common friend, the source said, and has been working with Abdul-Rauf for the past couple weeks. “A super humble bro,” Abdul-Rauf wrote in the caption.