Who Is Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, The Former Point Guard Who Phil Jackson Just Compared To Steph Curry?
You may know by now that Phil Jackson made a pretty clumsy comparison on Sunday between Stephen Curry and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, the former Nuggets, Kings and Grizzlies guard from the 1990s. Here it is in case you missed it:
Never seen anything like SCurry? Remind you of Chris Jackson/ Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, who had a short but brilliant run in NBA?
— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) February 28, 2016
The internet responded by slapping Jackson like Moe Howard, noting that Abdul-Rauf never made an All-Star team and had a career average of 14.6 points per game. Curry? 22.1 career -- 30.7 this season. Big ol' stat comparison here. Jackson then "clarified" his stance:
How does commenting on Rauf mean I'm comparing him to Curry?
Remind, yes, quick release, cross over, Yep, MVP, nope. Get a grip!
— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) February 29, 2016
Twitter pounced on that as well.
@PhilJackson11 because when u say "Never seen anything like SCurry? Remind you of Chris Jackson" you are juxtaposing the two. Fix the Knicks
— Craig Carton (@cc660) February 29, 2016
First, it's true that there is a bit of a similarity between Curry's game and that of Abdul-Rauf (the former Chris Jackson). As noted elsewhere, the latter had a quick release, an at-times deadly outside shooting touch, a career .905 free throw percentage, and the ability to put the ball on the floor if guarded closely.
But while Abdul-Rauf on his best day may have resembled a poor copy of Curry, it's hardly worth the effort to note it. And no matter how much Jackson protests, he was comparing the two. Words mean things, Phil.
We should thank Jackson, however, for reminding us that Abdul-Rauf exists. His was an interesting career.
The former LSU star was drafted by the Nuggets in 1990 and played six seasons there, then two seasons with the Kings and one with the Vancouver Grizzlies. He finished his career with a multi-team tour overseas, among his stops Italy, Turkey, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Japan. He retired in 2011.
But Abdul-Rauf is probably best known for a controversy with the Nuggets in 1996, when he refused to stand for the U.S. National Anthem during games (claiming it was a protest over U.S. tyranny, past and present). In March of '96 he was fined by the NBA for one of those incidents, and subsequently a compromise was worked out between him and the league. He would stand for the Anthem, but with his eyes closed, head bowed in an Islamic prayer.
That would have made an even juicier controversy today.
Anyway, Abdul-Rauf says it effectively ended his career. From a 2010 article in USA Today:
"After the national anthem fiasco, nobody really wanted to touch me," Abdul-Rauf said. "Then there was the HBO interview with Bryant Gumbel. After that, it was like it killed everything. Because that was after September 11. I could not even get an invitation to go try out with a team.
"I just laid low, stayed at home, spent more time with my family, trying to do things in the community and see if eventually I could get back into it. At the end, I said… Man, I still have a love for this thing and there’s got to be somebody out there that wants to give me a chance to play. And that’s why I have been overseas and have been ever since."
Abdul-Rauf also had struggles with Tourette Syndrome, which wasn't diagnosed until he was 17. In 1995 he scored a career high 51 against the Utah Jazz, and the following season scored 32 against Michael Jordan-led Chicago, helping the Nuggets hand the Bulls their fourth loss of an NBA-record 72-10 season.
That's the record Curry and the Warriors (53-5) are shooting for now. Perhaps Jackson is a little nervous about that, so he's being a bit overactive on social media?
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