Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf looks back at his early days growing up in Gu - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf looks back at his early days growing up in Gulfport

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf recently met with WLOX and he talked about growing up in Gulfport.Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf will always be remembered by those who watched his stellar high school career at Gulfport High School as Chris Jackson.

He guided the Admirals under legendary head coach Bert Jenkins to a pair of State Championships and in 1988 was selected Mississippi High School Player of the Year. He netted 29.9 points per game and 5.7 assists.

Jackson was named a McDonald's, Parade and Dapper Dan first-team All-American.

He went on to play two seasons at LSU under head coach Dale Brown. Jackson was a two-time SEC Player of the Year and two-time, first-team All-American.

He left LSU after his sophomore season and was the 3rd overall pick in the 1990 NBA Draft, selected by theDenver Nuggets.

He would change his name to Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf and said he knew from an early he wanted to play basketball in the NBA.

Abdul-Rauf said, "I knew right off that I wanted to be an NBA basketball player. So I embarked on a path early to try to do everything in my power to see to it that my dream would come true." He added, " I would wake up at four in the morning and be out the door at five, still dark outside, training religiously. I was just fortunate to come across good people that kept me on the right track, kept me busy and not distracted which happens to so many youth today."

Gulfport attorney Eddie Miller became Chris Jackson's agent. Miller's son Owen, who is now the head basketball coach at Gulfport High School, played with Jackson at Gulfport High.

Miller said, "Owen was playing for Lamar in Beaumont, Texas and he came to me his freshman year, Jackson's sophomore year, when Lamar was playing at LSU. After the game Chris showed up at our door and said Mr. Miller I want to go to the NBA after my sophomore year. He said would you represent me and I said sure I'd be glad to."

Abdul-Rauf says when it came to coaching, Gulfport High School's Bert Jenkins was the best.

"The greatest coach I've had and I'm just happy to be blessed to be in this area to experience that, "Abdul-Rauf said. "He believed in discipline. He didn't favor anyone. I mean he favored you if you produced he would call you a favorite." Abdul-Rauf added, "He treated everybody with respect and was keen on the fundamentals." 

Abdul-Rauf hopes to go on the national speaking circuit, host basketball clinics and one more thing... "Right now I'm writing a children's book called the monster in me about my childhood growing up with tourette syndrome"

In 1993 Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf was named the NBA's Most Improved Player. He retired from pro basketball in 2011, after playing throughout Europe and in Japan.

 

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