Mahmoud Abdul Rahman (the first pick in the NBA’s draft has been a swift success however, he also sparked controversy with his decision to stand down for the national anthem before games. Then, stand: STAND the anthem or just skip it? A documentary that streams on Showtime gives viewers an insightful look into the life, career and public stance of Abdul-Rauf according to archival material and Abdul-Rauf’s own screen interviews.
This documentary about a biographical sport is well-constructed, drawing upon the corroborating opinions of individuals from his childhood as well as many prominent figures in the world of basketball. Recent documentaries on this intersection of sports and social justice comprise “Colin In Black and White,” with a focus upon Colin Kaepernick, and “Citizen Ashe” which centers around Arthur Ashe. It’s interesting to look at Abdul-Rauf himself as the principal voice on this show in the film — and the many others that share their thoughts on his personal life.
Numerous NBA stars like Shaquille, Stephen Curry and Steve Kerr have expressed admiration of Abdul-Rauf’s talents. Concerning the event that saw his home destroyed by fires of unknown origin, Abdul-Rauf commented, “No person wants to see you criticize America and yet like James Baldwin said, that is all part of the American spirit of patriotism.” Some felt that Abdul-Rauf’s ability transcended mere skills to attain the status of an iconic figure in the NBA, and O’Neal himself stating “He did not have the best of qualities. The achievements he achieved were remarkable.
Whatever Colin Kaepernick may think, certain people aren’t willing to let go of Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf’s skills as a basketball player. He refused to stand during the nation’s of the nation’s anthem at the beginning of the NBA’s debut game. The protest caused outrage in the media, drew threats of death and eventually resulted in him being banned for a period of time by the league. Even though the incident has been lost to history, Abdul-Rauf still feels its impact on his professional life to this day.
In the midst of reminiscing about his life after the match, a passionate protest was raised by the Stand’s chorus. Mahershala Ali boldly declared that Steph Curry was prior to Steph Curry. Steph Curry quickly supported this assertion, and expressed admiration of Abdul-Rauf. Shaq told a story of the incredible performance his former Louisiana State teammate gave against Georgetown in which he said “it looked almost like it was seeing God playing basketball.” Other people boiled it down to a more simple and angry attitude, saying that one of the best basketball players of all time in the NBA had been cruelly deprived.
Though Mahmoud Abdul Rahman, also known as Chris Jackson, hailing originally from Gulfport in Mississippi is best known for his political activism yet, we must remember his talent as a basketball player. As a child in a poor household with a single mother who had only completed her th grade education, resources were limited for the family. His family’s accounts of him having to hunt squirrels in order to put food on the table. Despite the poverty he faced his extraordinary talents and drive did not be overlooked and soon attracted attention from the schools and the ranks of high school. It eventually led to him being a college coach in Louisiana State University.
The short and long of it is that Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf is an NBA legend who’s career and achievements deserve more recognition in life. Even though he’s been adored by Steph Curry, Shaq and other basketball legends, his accomplishments as well as his skills must not be overlooked. He should be remembered today as well as by the time we die, and we need to be a force to ensure the memory of his achievements never goes away.