“Stream It or Skip It”? An In-Depth Look at Popular TV Series & Movies


Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, the top pick in the NBA draft, found success quickly but also stirred up controversy when his refusal to stand during the national anthem before games became known. Now, STAND: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT? a documentary streaming on Showtime, provides audiences an insightful look into the life, career and public stance of Abdul-Rauf as told through archival material and Abdul-Rauf’s own on-screen interviews.

This biographical sports documentary is well-crafted as it draws upon the corroborating perspectives of people from the subject’s childhood and a wide range of prominent figures in the world of basketball. Comparable recent documentaries at this intersection of sports and social justice include “Colin In Black and White,” which focuses on Colin Kaepernick, and “Citizen Ashe,” which centers around Arthur Ashe. It is noteworthy to observe Abdul-Rauf himself — the most important voice here — as well as the long list of individuals who share their insights into his life.

Various NBA players, such as Shaquille O’Neal, Stephen Curry, and Steve Kerr, have expressed their admiration for the talent of Abdul-Rauf. In reference to the incident in which his house was ravaged by a fire of unknown origin, Abdul-Rauf commented, “No one wants you to criticize America, but, as James Baldwin said, that is all part of patriotism.” Many felt that Abdul-Rauf’s ability transcended mere skill to reach iconic status, with O’Neal himself noting, “He wasn’t good. He was great.

No matter the perspective of Colin Kaepernick’s present-day detractors, there are those who refuse to forget Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf’s expert basketball skills after he refused to stand for the national anthem before NBA games in . This stance sparked a media frenzy, generated death threats from fans, and eventually led to his suspension by the league until a resolution could be worked out. Though the protest may have largely been forgotten, it had a devastating effect on Abdul-Rauf’s professional career that is still felt today.

Upon reminiscence of him, an impassioned counter arose from the chorus of voices in Stand. Mahershala Ali boldly proclaimed “Steph Curry before Steph Curry” and this was swiftly supported by Steph Curry himself who expressed his esteem for Abdul-Rauf’s abilities. Shaq reminisced about a tour de force performance his future Louisiana State teammate put on against Georgetown with the observation, “it looked like I was watching God play basketball”. Other people boiled it down to a simpler and angrier sentiment as they asserted that one of the greatest players ever in the NBA had been cruelly deprived.

Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, formerly known as Chris Jackson and hailing from Gulfport, Mississippi, is remembered for his protest today but one should not forget that he was an exceptionally gifted basketball player. Growing up in a low-income household with a single mother who had only completed her th grade education, means were scarce in the household; his brother account recalls having to hunt squirrels in order to put food on the table. Despite the poverty he faced, Abdul-Rauf’s extraordinary talent and ambition did not go unnoticed & quickly drew attention from within high school ranks. This ultimately led to a college coaching position at Louisiana State University.

The moral

The long and short of it is this: Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf is a basketball legend whose career and accomplishments should have earned him more recognition in life. Though he is unsurprisingly beloved by figures such as Steph Curry and Shaq, the wave of appreciation for his skills and achievements should never have been confined to the past. He should be remembered today, he should be remembered tomorrow, and we must all work hard to ensure that never fades away.


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