Stand, a documentary about the life of former basketball star Mahmoud Abdul Rauf, is set to premiere on Showtime. The film aims to follow Mahmoud’s journey from being a high school basketball prodigy to being cheated out of the NBA because of his views on oppression and injustice.
The documentary, directed by award-winning Joslyn Rose Lyons, will be released worldwide on February 3, 2023, at 9 p.m. ET.
official description of the sports documentary reads,
Born Chris Jackson, he overcame tremendous adversity to reach the NBA and found his true calling when he converted to Islam. His decision not to stand for the national anthem, however, turned him from prodigy to pariah. Told candidly by Abdul-Rauf himself more than 20 years later it’s the remarkable story of one man who paved way for social justice.”
What to expect from the upcoming Showtime documentary Stand
With Stand, viewers can expect the now-gray-bearded basketball legend to reclaim the movement for which he once stood. He is seen reflecting on how the NBA betrayed him at the pinnacle of his career when he became involved in social activism following his conversion to Islam. We get to see how his decision regarding the national anthem cost him more than just an NBA suspension.
On March 12, 1996, his house was burned down by the Klu Klux Klan after he was kicked out of the mega league and fined $31,707 per missed game. He received no support after that, and he admitted in his own words that he felt like dying every day.
Jalen Rose, a former basketball player turned sports analyst and Mahmoud’s colleague, admits to letting down his colleague in the past in the trailer: “We should’ve protected him. We should have supported him, but we didn’t.”
Still, the documentary celebrates his heroic take on oppression and injustice, as well as how, despite harsh criticism, he managed to voice his ideals of justice. In an era when few sports figures were involved in social advocacy, Mahmoud stood firm in the 1990s.
The trailer celebrates Mahmoud’s strongwill by dedicating the following lines to him:
“Before anyone took a knee, he took a stand.”
This is said to be against the backdrop of sports stars like Colin Kaepernick taking a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Aside from Mahmoud, the documentary includes in-depth interviews with athletes and celebrities such as Stephen Curry, Steve Kerr, Shaquille O’Neal, Jalen Rose, Mahershala Ali, Ice Cube, and others. Joslyn Rose Lyons makes her feature-length directorial debut with the documentary.
Mahmoud was born Chris Jackson and raised in Mississippi by his single mother, Jacqueline Jackson. He was already a basketball fan and had begun playing for his school team at the time. Soon after, he made the transition from LSU to the NBA, where he played for the Denver Nuggets and won the NBA Most Improved Player Award in 1993. In the trailer, Shaq O’Neil describes Mahmoud’s smooth basketball skills as:
It was as if I were watching God play basketball.” “Felt like I was watching God play basketball.”
It’s interesting to note that when Mahmoud achieved this forte, he was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome. He still struggles with it to this day.
Stand premieres on Showtime on Friday, February 3, 2023, at 9 p.m. ET.