Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf

There are some players that I like, and then there are some players who are my favorites. Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf — formerly known as Chris Jackson — is one of my favorites. No direspect to Monta Ellis who some say is the greatest ever to come out of Mississippi, but Mahmoud in my opinion is the one who holds that title. How often do you hear about a guy with Tourette syndrome giving people the blues on the basketball court (shooting mostly jumpers) the way he did? I didn’t live in the south at the time when he was coming up in HS and college so I missed a lot of his early career, but when I moved to Mississippi I met some guys who lived in Gulfport and the surrounding areas during that time and they used to love to tell stories about this cat that just blew me away and I’ve been a fan ever since. I remember one story in particular about a HS game where he missed three shots in a row. They said after he missed the last shot he called his own timeout and whenever he went to the bench, because of his Tourette’s he had this thing about tying and untying his shoes over and over again. So that’s all he did during the timeout and when it was time to restart the game again, they said he hit both of shoes three times and went out and put up 60 and for the rest of the game he didn’t even miss two shots in a row. How sick is that?!

I remember going to a charity basketball game at Tougaloo College in Jackson in the summer of 2000. Mahmoud was scheduled to play, he was the main attraction and I had to go. The story at that time was since he had left the Sacramento Kings in 1998, he had only played basketball twice in two years. The gym was packed that night and Mahmoud proceeded to hang 44pts on former Ole Miss PG Joezon Darby, including posting him up way above the 3 point line and hitting a fade away in his face for the and one! I know what you’re thinking, he should’ve been embarrassed to let a guy who basically hadn’t picked up a ball in 24 months do that to him. All I can say is if you’re thinking that, then you’ve never seen this man play. What happened to Joezon would’ve happened to anybody. It wouldn’t have made a difference who was guarding him that night, and truth be told, it could’ve been much worse…trust me on that.

Even though he didn’t become the NBA player everyone thought he would coming out of HS and college, to me he is still one of the greatest. My personal opinion is that Tourette’s was his gift and his curse. On one hand, it made him so completely focused on basketball that he was essentially obsessive/compulsive about it. On the other hand, when he discovered Islam he became so completely focused and obsessive/compulsive about that, basketball became secondary. I think the disease really only allowed him to focus and put all of his energy into one thing at a time and I don’t think people really made that connection. He could’ve been a perennial All-Star and been recognized by the league as one of its best players ever, but because of his strong Islamic convictions and him being so vocal about his faith, he scared people. That ended up with him being blacklisted from the league altogether. I think it’s a shame that his game won’t be what people remember most about him. All they will remember is his refusal to stand for the National Anthem.  Me personally, I didn’t care what religion he chose or what he changed his name to. All I knew was that when that ball went up, if you had the assignment of having to guard that guy you’d better be ready because on any given night he could go off (I posted the videos to prove it). And if you’re a fan of the game like I am, that’s all that really matters. Be sure to click on the link and read the article. It was published just this past October; it’s long but it’s a good read.

The Conversion of Chris Jackson

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4 Responses

  1. Once Mahmoud Abdul Rauf told me there will be another Mahmoud Abdul Rauf. I just like to say that there will NEVER NEVER EVER be another Mahmoud Abdul Rauf. JOAKIM NOAH!!!

  2. Mahmoud was an amazing basketball player. its sad most of the world didn’t get to experience what this guy could really do on a hardwood court. this guy is a true basketball player who a lot of people can learn from still to this day by watching his games. true baller

  3. My name is Ben Magee. Mahmoud nicknamed me Dennis Johnson or DJ because he thought that I resemble the late Dennis Johnson. I grew up 5 minutes from Mahmoud and we formed a neighborhood basketball team called the Soria City Sixers. The team was name for the town in Gulfport that we grew up in. We would travel all over the city (by foot) and play pickup games against whom ever would play us. We would have to play older kids because the younger kids were no competition. Mahmoud and I favored so everyone thought that we were cousins; so we played that up throughout HS. What a lot of people dont know is he was a heck of a QB in elementary, but he broke his leg playing and he never picked up the football again. I also nicknamed him “daydreamer” because we did not know what Tourette syndrome was so everytime he would star off into space, we would call him daydreamer. Mahmoud and I would have fierce one on one games on the dirt court in Kevin Dedeaux’s back yard. I went on the play football because I did not care for Bert Jones at GHS. He has three boys, so I am sure one of them has his gifts. I often find myself watching old videos, but it was a treasure and a joy to watch him in person. Thanks for the post. Bennie “DJ” Magee.

  4. I am from MS and got to see this guy play against Murrah’s James Robinson at the Mississippi Coliseum in the State tourney back in 1988. I’ve seen NBA games, dozens of SEC basketball games and even saw Magic Johnson lead the legendary 80’s lakers teams, but nothing compared to the Chris Jackson vs James Robinson duel. Both guys scored over 40.

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