Former Gulfport teammate talks about Abdul-Rauf's great talents - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Former Gulfport teammate talks about Abdul-Rauf's great talents

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If you were fortunate enough to ever see Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf play basketball, you will certainly never forget it. Abdul-Raul, known at the time as Chris Jackson, did some magical things on the basketball court.

When he watches basketball today, Owen Miller can't help but reflect back to more than two decades ago, when he called Abdul-Rauf his teammate. "Incredible, just did things that we had never seen before," Miller said.

They won consecutive state championships in the late 1980's.

With the legendary Bert Jenkin's coaching, and Abdul-Rauf on the court, it was truly the best of times.

"Coach Jenkins had worked so hard and helped change the culture of basketball and how it was perceived, and then along comes this young kid, who changed the way it was played," Miller added.

Now the head coach at Gulfport High, Miller first saw Abdul-Rauf when they were in elementary school.

"The first thing that came to my mind was, he can't be a sixth grader," Miller laughed.

By the time Abdul-Rauf reached high school, the legend had grown. People around this state would come to see him play. In a special way, they knew they were watching a young man with extraordinary basketball talent. 

"We had to play a lot of our games in the Mississippi Coast Coliseum," Miller said. "That was because our gym, the B. Frank Brown, would not hold enough people, we were turning people away."

Miller added that the only difficult thing about playing with Abdul-Rauf, was when he would sometimes catch himself just watching the incredible things Rauf would do on the court.

Now, more than two decades later, Abdul-Rauf's professional basketball career is over. It has taken him around the world, but the memories of the game he played, and the impact he has had on basketball here in the state of Mississippi, can never be taken away.

Abdul-Rauf was honored Friday night by the city of Gulfport and presented a key to the city.

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