02-10-2010, 01:25 PM
The Killing Joke
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Burkina Faso, Disputed Zone
Mahmoud Abdul - Rauf interview
Again an interesting interview considering his stance on the anthem and not standing. Highlights:
HoopsHype.com NBA Blogs - Jorge Sierra Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf: “After the anthem fiasco, no team wanted to touch me”
What do you think is the perception NBA fans have of you after all the controversy about the anthem?
MAR: You’re gonna have people that focus on the basketball aspect and appreciate my abilities and you’re going to have some that focus on what they perceive is the negative – the national anthem, the interviews and anything I did that didn’t coincide with their views. For me, really, I don’t care about that. As long as I can I can say I went out and did the best I could and stayed true to my heart and my conscience, that’s something I can deal with.
But I will tell you this… When I’m on the streets, it’s a difference from what the media says as far as me being a troublemaker because of the anthem. When I’m walking on the streets, the response I get is different. When it’s all said and done, people on the street know or got a sense about how certain people are. And I get a lot of people that come to me and say, “Man, you had a lot of game” or “You could play” or “Man, they gave you a raw deal” or “Thank you for doing what you did and standing up!” I get that a lot more than the negative. At the end of the day, people are going to have their opinions. You know what they say about opinions? (laughs) It’s like a-holes, everybody’s got one.
What happened in the offseason of 1998-99? Did you receive offers to keep on playing in the NBA?
MAR: Oooh, man, that’s a long, long time. I will tell you this… After the national anthem fiasco, nobody really wanted to touch me. 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.
Would you do anything differently if you could go back in time?
MAR: To me, it is what it is. And as long as whatever I’m going through, if it can make me a better person, I wouldn’t change it. Because I went through if for a reason – to get where I’m at now. I wouldn’t change anything. I think I’ve become a better person because of it.
How did you make your mind one day that you were not going to stand during the national anthem?
MAR: That was gradual process. It came through my reading. I began to read more, I began to think about issues more. And the more I read and the more I thought, I said… What am I doing this? I don’t want to be like some type of robot, just doing things because other people are doing it. I began to question, why am I doing what I do? Do I believe that this is the right thing to do? So I came to this decision. I said, “No.” There were a lot of things that I disagree with and if I’m going to be true to myself, I have to begin to act like it and not just talk about it. That’s what brought me to that point of not standing.
It was something that was gradual and it was never meant to bring attention to myself. I did it for like three or four months before anybody even knew I was doing it. If I wanted to bring attention to myself, I wouldn’t have come out or I would have put myself in the middle of the floor. But I never did that because it was something that I was dealing with internally.