ARTICLE WAINAO N°39 - THE OTHER AMERICAN SNIPER
March 12, 1996: the NBA suspended Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf for his refusal to stand for "The Star-Spangled Banner" before games, considering the flag as a symbol of oppression.
Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (born Chris Jackson on March 9, 1969) is a former American professional basketball player. He Played nine-year in the NBA with the Denver Nuggets, Sacramento Kings and Vancouver Grizzlies, Considered one of the greatest free-throw shooters in the history of the game.
Abdul-Rauf was born in Mississippi, He had very difficult childhood , he was placed in special education classes. He suffered from a moderate form of Tourette syndrome, a condition that went undiagnosed until he was 17. Abdul-Rauf managed to overcome difficulties to become a basketball prodigy for Gulfport High School. This disease was tough to deal with on a daily basis but basketball helped him as he sadi himself: “when I train, I literally get to the point where sometimes it’s near death.’ I’m breathing so hard, but then there’s a period once you stop and your breath starts to slow down, you get into a zone. Just sitting here. And you may stare off. At that moment, it could be 10 seconds, 30 seconds, a minute, two minutes, you’re totally still. Some people have it all the time. They take it for granted. So my training a lot of the times is just to get those moments of stillness, even if it’s only for a short while. I kinda shut up. “
Abdul-Rauf had an amazing freshman year for LSU, setting the NCAA record for points by a freshman (965) and points per game by a freshman (30.2).His sophomore season was as impressive. After two-year stint at LSU, he declared for the NBA draft and was selected with the third pick in the 1990 by the Denver Nuggets. Abdul rauf was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team and In 1991, he converted to Islam and changed his name from Chris Jackson to his current one. in 1993, he led the league in free throw percentage winning the NBA Most Improved Player Award in 1993. He played with Denver until 1996, and was a key player on that team. By the 1995-96 campaign, Abdul-Rauf was almost unguardable . He scored 51 points UTAH and dropping 32 on Michael Jordan when dealing the Chicago Bulls a rare loss in their 72-win season.
That season also is when Abdul-Rauf decided not to stand for the anthem. At first, nobody noticed but finally, a reporter finally asked about it, the issue exploded.
On March 12, 1996, the NBA suspended Abdul-Rauf for one game, citing a rule that players must line up in a “dignified posture” for the anthem. It cost him almost $32,000 of his $2.6 million salary. He received death threats by mail and telephone, and the letters “KKK” being spray-painted on a sign near the construction of his new house, five miles outside his hometown of Gulfport, Mississippi. When Abdul-Rauf was asked about why he wasn’t participating in the pre-game patriotism ritual, he said that his Muslim faith wouldn’t allow him to worship any God but Allah—and that the stars-and-stripes, to him, stood for tyranny and oppression. Almost nobody had his back(except Steve kerr, Shaq and mutombo who was publicly backing Abdul-Rauf in ’96). The NBA vowed to suspend him without pay for every game where he refused to stand. The league’s most prominent players tended to either actively distance themselves from him, or hedge their support. The NBA’s most prominent Muslim, Hakeem Olajuwon, told the New York Times that it was “tough for me to understand his position,” and Michael Jordan said, “I can understand him sitting in the locker room and coming out after the national anthem, but being out there on the court while everyone else is standing, that is being disrespectful.”
Abdul rauf reached a compromise with the league that allowed him to stand and pray with his head down during the anthem. However at the end of the season, the Nuggets traded Abdul-Rauf, who averaged a team-high 19.2 points and 6.8 assists, to the Sacramento Kings.
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. 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.”
“I want to live and die with a free conscience and a free soul when it’s all said and done. That’s the journey I’m on,” Abdul-Rauf said. “I had to make that decision for myself and I found that after I did that, it took off a huge weight. Do you get ridiculed? Do you hear the nonsense? Do people try to assassinate your character? Yes, but when it’s all said and done, you’re like, man, I feel good because I know that I’m standing on something that I believe in.”
"He had immaculate skills. His handle and quickness. ... I mean, how many dudes can get in the 3-point and the dunk contest?" says Jalen Rose, who played with Abdul-Rauf in Denver. The few who remember Abdul-Rauf's career compare him to present-day stars like Stephen Curry or Kyrie Irving. His quick release, shooting ability and handles were all top of the line.
“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.”
Mahmoud has lot almost everything just because he refused to stand up like he committed a crime but fortunately....He did not lost the most important !
To know more about the subject:
Rebel Basketball Historical Timeline". olemisssports.com. Retrieved April 22, 2015.
Abdul-Rauf Scores 51 Points As Nuggets Hold On at Utah". New York Times. December 8, 1995. Retrieved April 22, 2015.
Astramskas, David (November 21, 2012). "College greats: Chris Jackson – Best freshman ever? The original unstoppable partner of Shaq before Kobe & Penny". ballislife.com. Retrieved April 22, 2015.
Danois, Alejandro (June 4, 2014). "Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, aka The Artist Formerly Known as Chris Jackson".
Sierra, Jorge (February 4, 2010). "Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf: "After the anthem fiasco, no team wanted to touch me"". hoops hype. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
Diamos, Jason (March 21, 1996). "PRO BASKETBALL;Abdul-Rauf Is Calm In Face of Controversy". New York Times. Retrieved September 21, 2010.
Eddie Maisonet (March 25, 2014). "Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf: Here, gone and quickly forgotten". SB⋆NATION. Retrieved April 22, 2015.
^ Zierk, Court (November 12, 2009). "Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf: A Portrait of Perfection". Bleacher Report. Retrieved April 23, 2015.