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Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (born Chris Wayne Jackson on March 9, 1969 in Gulfport, Mississippi) is an American former professional basketball player.
Abdul-Rauf changed his name in 1991 upon his conversion to Islam. After a record-setting college career at Louisiana State University, he was selected with the third pick in the 1990 NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets. He played with Denver until 1995, and was a key player on that team, winning the Most Improved Player award in 1993. Abdul-Rauf later went on to play for the Sacramento Kings and later the Vancouver Grizzlies. He led the league in free throw percentage in 1994 and 1996, narrowly missing (for one missed free throw) the NBA all-time record for free-throw percentage in a single season in 1993-94 (he went 219-229 from the line for a 0.956 percentage as opposed to Calvin Murphy's 0.958 (206-215) all-time record dating back to 1980-81). He has the highest career free-throw percentage in league history at .905. After leaving the NBA he played professional basketball in Europe, retiring at the end of 2004-05 season. For the season 2006-07 he came out of retirement for the third time in his career to play for Aris Thessaloniki.
Abdul-Rauf overcame the challenge of Tourette syndrome to have an athletic career.
Since retiring from NBA, he has built a mosque in his home town of Gulfport, Mississippi, and has become an Imam. He transformed property that had been a crack-house into the mosque as a symbol of his mission to mobilize the neighborhood to rid itself of drugs and crime.
Additional recommended knowledge
National anthem controversy
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". He said that standing to the national anthem would therefore conflict with his Islamic beliefs. On March 12, 1996 the NBA suspended Abdul-Rauf for his refusal to stand, but the suspension lasted only one game. Two days later, the league was able to work out a compromise with him, whereby he would stand during the playing of the national anthem but could close his eyes and look downward. He usually silently recited a Muslim prayer during this time.
In an apparent publicity stunt gone wrong linked to this controversy, four employees of Denver's KBPI 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.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mahmoud_Abdul-Rauf". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|