Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf is an activist and former NBA star whose life journey will be shared in the Showtime documentary, “Stand”, premiering February 3. An author of his own story published by Kaepernick Publishing, “In the Blink of an Eye: An Autobiography”, he continues to fight for justice. Abdul-Rauf first came to public attention as a Louisiana State University freshman sensation then named Chris Jackson. Despite having Tourette’s syndrome, he went pro after his sophomore year, was picked third in 1990 by the Denver Nuggets, and converted to Islam. By the 1995-96 campaign, Abdul-Rauf was putting up incredible stats, scoring 32 points on Michael Jordan when dealing the Chicago Bulls a rare loss in their 72-win season.
That season also is when Abdul-Rauf’s conscience told him not to stand for the anthem. Like former NFL star Colin Kaepernick, Abdul-Rauf said he viewed the American flag as a symbol of oppression and racism. Abdul-Rauf also said standing for the anthem would conflict with his Muslim faith because you can’t be for God and also for oppression. The NBA suspended him for one game. The players union supported Abdul-Rauf, and he reached a compromise with the league that allowed him to stand and pray with his head down during the anthem. But at the end of the season, the Nuggets traded him to the Sacramento Kings where his playing time dropped and he lost his starting spot. After his contract expired in 1998, Abdul-Rauf couldn’t get a tryout with any NBA team and his NBA career was over at age 29. Mahmoud will be appearing at Faye Spanos Concert Hall on February 21, 7:00 p.m. to discuss the impact of his basketball career, his faith and how his fight for justice shaped his life.
No parking permit is needed