Former NBA Champ Craig Hodges: “Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf was cut off from possibly being the greatest scorer in NBA history”

Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Colin Kaepernick and Craig Hodges. Photo Courtesy of: Houston Forward Times

It doesn’t matter if you’re walking into a grocery store, Jewish synagogue, local gym, Muslim mosque, Baptist church, or flipping your television from ESPN’s First Take to Fox Sports 1’s Undisputed to catch NBA free agency, the same question is repeated over and over again: Will Colin Kaepernick play in the NFL this season?

For those tardy to the party, Last NFL season, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback refused to stand during the playing of the U.S. national anthem to acknowledge wrongdoings of African Americans and minorities like Eric Garner, Philando Castile who have been brutally murdered by police officers.”I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL network’s Steve Wyche during the NFL’s preseason last year.

“To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Kaepernick would later kneel instead of not participating at all while the national anthem was played during NFL games.

Kaepernick’s refusal triggered other athletes like the Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James, Houston Rockets’ Chris Paul, New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony and Chicago Bulls’ Dwyane Wade and WNBA players to become vocal about police brutality of minorities.

Kaepernick, who led the San Francisco 49ers to an appearance in Super Bowl XLVII, was in a contract year when took that public stance last season. Now an NFL free agent, it seems that nobody is willing to take a chance on him as even a backup in the NFL. The Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins are said to have had interest, but they’ve since moved on.

Craig Hodges and Michael Jordan. Photo Courtesy of The Odyssey Online

So will Colin Kaepernick play this season? Craig Hodges, a 2-time NBA Champion with the Chicago Bulls says it’s iffy. “He might get an opportunity, but if he is not in somebody’s training camp I don’t think he will play again in the NFL because out of sight out of mind, Hodges told me on Scoop B Radio.  

“And in the sport, unlike basketball where you might be able to sit out twelve months and still be able to come back and play, but the question becomes in that twelve months: “Is anybody even going to mess with you anymore?” Because they already said you are obsolete because you have been twelve months away from the game.”

Hodges if you recall, was blackballed by the NBA after he handed a letter to former U.S. President George H.W. Bush during the Bulls’ championship visit to the White House. The contents of the letter, according to Hodges made President Bush aware of  the mistreatment of poor people and people of color in the United States. “I did whatever I could to uplift the cause of our people man,” he said.

“And one night, we had the chance to go the White House right after we won our first championship. I had been writing letters to our congress people and to our senators to the mayor when I was a little boy and all the way through high school and it was just a continuous of that and a continuous  knowing that I part of the fabric and the fiber of human rights and people standing up for human rights.”

 

 

Check Out Craig Hodges On Scoop B Radio with Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson

 

While Hodges took a stance after winning a championship with Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant and coach Phil Jackson in the 90s, another NBA player was vocal in Denver.

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 this week 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)

Former Denver Nuggets guard, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf was nationally villafied after he refused to acknowledge the U.S. flag. Abdul-Rauf, who  converting to Islam, refused to acknowledge the flag in protest. He would not rise while the U.S. national anthem was played and as a result, ABC’s 20/20 and other television shows and networks drew national attention to Abdul Rauf’s public stance. As a result, Abdul-Rauf was suspended by the NBA and when he returned, he, the NBA and the Nuggets reached an agreement that he’d pray while the national anthem was played before games.

While Kaepernick is without a job in the NFL, Hodges believes that Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf had it worse off than he or Kaepernick. Hodges indicated on Scoop B Radio that he told Abdul-Rauf as such when the two he met in Chicago while Abdul-Rauf was playing in Ice Cube’s Big 3 Basketball tournament. “Colin Kaepernick has gotten to get a portion of what he is suppose to get salary wise,” said Hodges.

“Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf was cut off from possibly being the greatest scorer in NBA history, that is the part that hurt me about him.”

Abdul-Rauf was ultra talented. The fiery guard out of LSU who went by the name Chris Jackson before his conversion to Islam was nasty! His scoring ability was unmatched and his jumper was deadly.

In his rookie season in the NBA he averaged 14 points per game and averaged a shade over three assists per game during the 1990-91 NBA season. Abdul-Rauf’s best year in the league was the 1992-93 NBA season. He’d average a smidge under 20 points and 4 assists per contest. He was lightning quick and his first step in his prime could genuinely compare with the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson Discusses Colin Kaepernick on Another Thing with Larry Medte and Fox News Political Expert Lt. Steven Rogers

On Abdul-Rauf, Craig Hodges added:

“I’m saying he is Islam and he understands all of that, but that is power for why that all went on. But at the same time, his potential in the game was so much farther than myself and I say even Colin for where he is in his career right now. But as far as what he was able to do for the game, I feel like Mahmoud felt it more than anybody.”

Shifting back to the gridiron, the ongoing saga Kaepernick saga is reminiscent of Michael Vick’s return to football after his conviction of running a dogfighting business in his home. The only difference is that Kaepernick has not broken any laws.

So here’s the million and seven dollar question: If Colin Kaepernick were to be picked up by an NFL team, would he kneel during the national anthem again?

“See once again, I’m pretty sure Colin Kaepernick isn’t going to take a knee anymore,” said Hodges.

“There isn’t a need to take a knee anymore. I think now it’s just a  matter of him wanting to play football. If he gets a chance to play football he is going to play football and do what he is capable of doing. Hopefully he gets that opportunity.”

Speaking of Michael Vick. In the past month, both he and Ray Lewis were vocal about Kaepernick’s decision and how the free agent could re-enter the program. Essentially, they both felt that he should either cut his hair or keep his political views to himself. “Often times we can be pressured into making comments on behalf of the larger enforcer,” said Hodges.

“That’s where we have to ask ourselves: if there really is a God in these situations whose side is he on? You know what I am saying? Then when brother’s make the decisions to say like: ‘Michael Vick, how stupid is that?’ So you are telling me that his hair as something to do with throwing the football? This man’s words are throwing footballs, Ray Lewis? So tone down your civil rights. So you’re telling me allow people to be murdered and maimed and it’s cool as long as I play football? Hell no man! How much more of a 2017 slave mentality is that? Let’s cut to the chase we have some slave garbage.”

Speaking of hair, r&b singer India Arie did explain to you in her song that she was not her hair!

Taking a cursory look at the NFL, there are others who have defining hair: the Houston Texans’ Brian Cushing has sported an array of styles, as have former Pittsburgh Steeler Troy Polamalu. Hodges deducts that corporate America is afraid of athletes like Kaepernick being unapologetically black. “Absolutely,” he said.

“Because when that happens you have no fear. Fear then is the key to the power structure. Scare the hell out of people and they aren’t going to move. So many of our movements have been penalized just because of the inaction and fear.”

 

Suggested Articles:

The Next Big Showcase’s Cliff Po & DJ Tarzan Making Dreams Reality in NYC & NJ

Scoop B Radio: Turner Sports’ Steve Smith Talks Career & More

 

contactscoopb@gmail.com'

About Brandon Robinson

Brandon 'Scoop B' Robinson is a managing editor and columnist at RESPECT Magazine. Follow him on Twitter: @ScoopB and Instagram: @Scoop_B. As a 12 year old, he was a Nets reporter from 1997-1999, co-hosting a show called Nets Slammin' Planet with former New Jersey Net Albert King and Nets play-by-play man Chris Carrino. He's also been a writer and radio host at CBS and a staff writer at The Source Magazine. He's a graduate of both Eastern University and Hofstra University. You can catch him daily on the Scoop B Radio Podcast. Visit ScoopBRadio.com to listen. For inquiries and to contact Brandon 'Scoop B' Robinson visit ScoopB.com