20 Years Before Kaepernick He Lost NBA Career Protesting The Anthem; Meet Him At Our Gala

*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.

FILE – In this March 15, 1996 file photo, Denver Nuggets guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf stands with his teammates and prays during the national anthem before an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls in Chicago. This was Abdul-Rauf’s first game back since he was suspended by the NBA on March 12, 1996, for refusing to participate in the national anthem pre-game ceremony. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to refuse to stand during the playing of the national anthem as a way of protesting police killings of unarmed black men has drawn support and scorn far beyond sports. Through the years, “The Star-Spangled Banner” has become a symbol of both patriotism and politics. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

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.

  1. Terri Clair
    Terri Clair
    July 29, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    I never kept up with sports but I’ve always participated in black power any way I could. I am so proud of these brothers. I won’t be able to attend this event but just like last year, I will support them and purchase a ticket anyway.

  2. Multi
    July 29, 2019 at 9:39 pm

    Let this be a reminder for the slow ones at the back: YOU CANNOT AND SHOULD NOT BE LOOKING TO SPORTS PEOPLE, ENTERTAINERS or SINGERS for moral compass or what to think on these political issues. They are fully paid up members of the system and will not bite the hand that feeds them.

    Salute to the brothers mentioned; you’re cut from a different cloth and an inspiration to all right minded people.

  3. Ray Farmer
    Ray Farmer
    July 30, 2019 at 1:38 am

    Greatness If You Stand For Something You Will Fall For Everything.

  4. Debra Simmons
    Debra Simmons
    August 3, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    It would be a good thing if someone could bring a forum together with all these sports super heroes who took a stand like kaepernick, john carlos, abdul Rauf, and many more who sacfrice their career…that would be a great event to witness

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