Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (born Chris Wayne Jackson on March 9, 1969) is a former American professional basketball player. Abdul-Rauf played basketball for Gulfport High School before enrolling at Louisiana State University to play college basketball for the Tigers, who retired his jersey number in 2020.
Abdul-Rauf while playing in Japan.
|Born||March 9, 1969|
|Listed height||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Listed weight||163 lb (74 kg)|
|High school||Gulfport (Gulfport, Mississippi)|
|NBA draft||1990 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3rd overall|
|Selected by the Denver Nuggets|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||8,553 (14.6 ppg)|
|Rebounds||1,087 (1.9 rpg)|
|Assists||2,079 (2.5 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
His nine-year NBA career, spent with the Denver Nuggets, Sacramento Kings and Vancouver Grizzlies, was marked by an appearance in the Slam Dunk Contest as well as by one of the most accurate free-throw shooting records ever. After his NBA career, he played in multiple leagues around the world. He’s considered one of the premier sharp-shooters in NBA history. Phil Jackson has compared Stephen Curry’s style to that of Abdul-Rauf.
Abdul-Rauf sparked controversy for refusing to stand for the national anthem, and calling the flag of the United States a symbol of oppression.
Early life and careerEdit
Abdul-Rauf was born Chris Jackson in Gulfport, Mississippi, the son of Jacqueline Jackson. He was raised in a single-parent family, along with his two brothers, Omar and David. His childhood was characterized by poverty, as there were times when he and his brothers were not able to have proper nutrition. Abdul-Rauf missed the fourth grade and was later 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. In his senior season in high school he averaged 29.9 points and 5.7 assists per game and was called up to the McDonald's All-American Game. He was also named Mississippi Mr. Basketball twice, in 1987 and 1988.
Having never played an organized game, Abdul-Rauf was discovered by a middle-school girls coach in Gulfport, MS during lunch period on the playground. Recognizing his skill, she convinced his mother to allow him to play organized basketball. In his first game, despite not knowing the rules, Abdul-Rauf scored 24 points. (Source: Beckett Publications)
Abdul-Rauf was a standout freshman for LSU, scoring 48 points against Louisiana Tech in just his third game for the school. He set the scoring record for a freshman, with 53 points against Florida. On March 4, 1989, he scored 55 points against Ole Miss to top his personal best, while also setting a career-high for three-pointers made, with 10. In the same game, Ole Miss' Gerald Glass scored 53, making their 108 combined points the most ever by two players in an SEC game  He appeared in 32 games in his freshman season, setting the NCAA record for points by a freshman (965) and points per game by a freshman (30.2). He was named SEC Player of the Year and First-team All-American. In his sophomore season, he produced similar numbers with his scoring average slightly falling to 27.8 per game. On February 10, 1990, he tied his career-high for three-pointers made, while finishing the game with 49 points. He was named SEC Player of the Year and First-team All-American for a second year in a row. After a remarkable two-year stint at LSU, Abdul-Rauf declared for the NBA draft.
Abdul-Rauf was selected with the third pick in the 1990 NBA draft by the Denver Nuggets. In his first season in the NBA he was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team. Despite the fact that he never dunked in an actual game, he participated in the 1993 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, after Nuggets president and general manager Bernie Bickerstaff sent NBA league officials a tape of Abdul-Rauf showcasing his dunking ability. Abdul-Rauf led the league in free throw percentage in the 1993–94 and 1995–96 seasons. His free throw percentage of .956 in 1993-94 is the third highest seasonal percentage in NBA history, behind Calvin Murphy (.958, 1980-81) and José Calderón (.981, 2008-09). He played with Denver until 1996, and was a key player on that team, winning the NBA Most Improved Player Award in 1993. In November 1995 he scored 30 points and a career-high 20 assists against the Phoenix Suns. On December 8, 1995 Abdul-Rauf posted a career-high 51 points against the Utah Jazz. In June 1996, he was traded to the Sacramento Kings for Sarunas Marciulionis and a second-round pick.
In 1998 Abdul-Rauf signed a two-year, $3.4 million contract with Fenerbahçe of the Turkish Basketball League. He left the club without finishing the season, stating he would retire from basketball due to loss of interest in the game. After not playing for the entire 1999–00 season, he signed with the Vancouver Grizzlies in August 2000. In December 2003 Abdul-Rauf signed with Ural Great of the Russian Basketball Super League. In 2004, he signed with Italian Serie A club Sedima Roseto. Averaging 18.4 points and 2.2 assists per game in the 2004–05 season he signed a contract with Udine in July 2005, but he sat out the entire season due to a torn achilles tendon. For the 2006–07 season, he came out of retirement for the third time in his career to play for Aris Thessaloniki. In November 2007 he signed a contract with Al-Ittihad of the Saudi Basketball League. In August 2009 he signed with Basketball Japan League team Kyoto Hannaryz. He averaged 17.9 points in 38 games in his first season in Japan. In July 2010, he re-signed with Kyoto Hannaryz for the 2010–11 season.
NBA career statisticsEdit
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
|*||Led the league|
In 1991, he converted to Sunni Islam and changed his name from Chris Jackson to Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf in 1993. He is the father of five children. Following his NBA career, Abdul-Rauf moved to Florida after his house in Necaise, Mississippi was burned to the ground in 2001. Later in life he became a Shia Muslim.
National anthem controversyEdit
Abdul-Rauf is perhaps best known for the controversy created when he refused to stand for "The Star-Spangled Banner" before games, stating that the flag was a symbol of oppression and that the United States had a long history of tyranny. On March 12, 1996, the NBA suspended Abdul-Rauf for his refusal to stand, costing Abdul-Rauf $31,707 per missed game. Two days later, he worked out a compromise with the league, whereby he would stand during the playing of the national anthem but could close his eyes and look downward. He usually silently recited Islamic prayer during this time for those who are suffering from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds.
In an apparent publicity stunt linked to this controversy, four employees of Denver's KBPI radio station were charged with misdemeanor offenses related to entering a Colorado mosque and playing "The Star-Spangled Banner" on a bugle and trumpet, in a provocative response to Abdul-Rauf's refusal to stand for the national anthem. Like Abdul-Rauf, the DJs were briefly suspended but ultimately they publicly apologized and reconciled with the Muslim community.
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- NBA career statistics for Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf at the Wayback Machine (archived December 7, 2001)
- NBA biography at the Wayback Machine (archived December 7, 2000)
- By the Dawn's Early Light: Chris Jackson's Journey to Islam documentary film
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- NBA Legend Mahmoud Abdul Rauf Conversion Story