Converted to Shia Islam – Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf


Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf was a professional NBA player, in the league for 9 years. He still holds one of the best Free-throw percentages in NBA history. Mahmoud was famous for being the first NBA player to reject standing for the USA national anthem because he felt it conflicted with his values. He converted to Sunni islam and then later settled upon Shiism.

Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (born Chris Wayne Jackson; March 9, 1969) is an American former professional basketball player. He played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for nine years with the Denver Nuggets, Sacramento Kings and Vancouver Grizzlies.

Abdul-Rauf was born Chris Jackson in Gulfport, Mississippi, the son of Jacqueline Jackson. He was raised in a single-parent family, along with his two brothers, Omar and David. His childhood was characterized by poverty, as there were times when he and his brothers were not able to have proper nutrition. Abdul-Rauf missed the fourth grade and was later placed in special education classes. He suffered from a moderate form of Tourette syndrome; a condition that went undiagnosed until he was 17. Abdul-Rauf managed to overcome difficulties to become a basketball prodigy for Gulfport High School. In his senior season in high school he averaged 29.9 points and 5.7 assists per game and was called up to the McDonald’s All-American Game. He was also named Mississippi Mr. Basketball twice, in 1987 and 1988.

In 1991, he converted to Sunni Islam and later became a Shia Muslim. He changed his name from Chris Jackson to Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf in 1993. He is the father of five children. Following his NBA career, Abdul-Rauf moved to Florida after his house in Necaise, Mississippi was burned to the ground in 2001.