On Sunday, former NBA first round draft pick Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf made his return to competitive basketball as a member of the 3 Headed Monsters of the BIG3 3-on-3 League. The 48-year-old Abdul-Rauf is the oldest member of the new league and joined The Jim Rome Show on Wednesday to talk about the inaugural weekend and his team’s 62-60 win over Ghost Ballers.
“It felt great, kind of like the preseason,” Abdul-Rauf said. “You spend a lot of time training in the summer, and then when you get back, you got to work the kinks and the rust off, but I think as the season progresses, we will get into our groove a little bit more. I feel wonderful.”
Having stayed active in the gym since retiring from the professional ranks, Abdul-Rauf said he didn’t need much preparation to participate in the league other than preparing for the physical play of his NBA days. “I brought guys in, whether they were 6’ 5”, 6’ 3” and we’d play a lot of one-on-one, a lot of two-on-two and three-and-three, and I’d make sure they’d hack me a little bit, because today’s game is a little bit different and just to get use to that banging and hand-checking again.”
20 years before Colin Kaepernick, Abdul-Rauf became well known for his own protest of sitting during the National Anthem. Abdul-Rauf shared his thoughts on Kaepernick still not being signed by an NFL team during the off-season following his protest.
“It doesn’t surprise me, I anticipate it. I said even when it happened I won’t be surprised if he doesn’t get signed, because this is just, when all said and done, the way it works,” Abdul-Rauf said. “These type of things, and this is just my humble opinion, you hear a lot of guys, and I’ve said this before, a lot of guys up on charges. It’s easy to bring these guys back, but someone who kind of reminds of Norm Chomsky, The Threat of a Good Example, that if someone is trying to encourage people to be socially conscious, religiously conscious, politically conscious, and it’s an away from what mainstream kind of wants than this is kind of like unacceptable. So we have to make an example of this type of person that to discourage other people from wanting to do it, and so this is what I think is happening. So it doesn’t surprise me.”
Abdul-Rauf thinks Kaepernick should be an example of what’s right about sports, not demonized and punished for his actions.
“He didn’t commit any criminal act, right. He just spoke his conscious, but yet, what’s done to him I think is criminal,” Abdul-Rauf said. “Because people spend their life developing their skills, it’s not like he can turn around and be this doctor or lawyer. I don’t know his educational background, but he’s spent his life doing this, and you’re going to punish him. I would think you’d want this type of person.
“The NFL, the NBA, they have programs, We Care, the NBA Cares and all these things put, here’s a man he’s sent food to Africa, he’s Meals on Wheels, he’s backing up what he’s talking about. I would think this is the person you’d want on your team. We’re taught if we see an injustice, talk out about it. We show Martin Luther King Jr. and all these people and we honored them for their stance, the Muhammad Ali’s, but in our day and time, when it happens, we show just the opposite. I think it’s a hypocrisy, and I think it’s sad to see it happen, but it definitely doesn’t surprise me.”