*Cover photo by Pro Photographer Charles Winslow, Media Relations, Ice Cube Big3*
Colin Kaepernick is most definitely a hero but before he took a knee, there was Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. Abdul-Rauf was a promising NBA player who lost his career because he refused to stand for the National Anthem. 20 years before Kaepernick, Abdul-Rauf took a stand all alone — Nike didn’t give him a commercial and no other players stood with him. It is because of Abdul-Rauf that Colin Kaepernick is able to engage the nation’s conscience today. Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf will be at “The Next 400 Gala” next month in Atlanta and you need to be there, too. Click here for tickets.
He was born Chris Jackson and he was a heck of a ball player. As a freshman at LSU he averaged 30 points a game. He went pro after his sophomore season and was drafted third overall. He converted to Islam and in just a few years he established himself as a dynamic player in the NBA. During the 1995-1996 season Abdul-Rauf decided to take his stand. Initially he stayed in the locker room during the anthem. Eventually, like Kaepernick, a reporter asked him about it and he made it known that he viewed the flag as a symbol of oppression and racism. ““You can’t be for God and for oppression,” Abdul-Rauf once said. It went downhill from there.
The NBA eventually decided to allow Abdul-Rauf to stand and pray with his head down during the anthem. Despite leading his team in scoring, he was traded to another team, where he was ultimately benched. After his contract expired, at just 29, he never got another shot in the league. Sound familiar? Abdul-Rauf, unlike Kaepernick, found zero support back in the 90’s. No corporation would touch him and even the larger Black community, for the most part, didn’t publicly stand with him. But real conviction doesn’t need consensus or popular support. When it’s real, you stand on it, no matter the consequences. A man with that much conviction and strength should be honored and we will do so, at “The Next 400 Gala” next month at the We Buy Black Convention.
“The Next 400 Gala” will be an exclusive event — there are ONLY 400 tickets. The featured speaker will be Basheer Jones, a modern political figure so revolutionary voters have attempted to recall him twice from office. Don’t miss this Gala. The weekend of the We Buy Black Convention marks 400 years since the first Africans reached the shores of Jamestown, Virginia, where they were sold. At this year’s We Buy Black Convention, we are setting the precedent for the next 400 years and claiming our natural inheritance of self development and world leadership. Purchase your tickets to the Gala today by clicking here and selecting “Next 400 Years Gala.”
*The original version of this article failed to credit Charles Winslow as photographer of the image used as the cover photo. We regret that error, sincerely.