BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - LSU basketball retired Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf’s No. 35 jersey during halftime of its game against Texas A&M on Saturday, Feb. 29. Abduf-Rauf played basketball at LSU from 1988 to 1990, when he still used the name Chris Jackson.
The Gulfport, Miss. native still holds college basketball’s freshman scoring record with 965 and points per game by a freshman with 30.2. He was selected third overall by the Denver Nuggets in the 1991 NBA draft.
Abdul-Rauf addressed the crowd at halftime after the tarp was pulled up to reveal his number hanging in the rafters. He thanked many of the people who helped him along the way, including family members, teammates, and coaches, especially Dale Brown.
He even joked about some of his former teammates and shed tears when talking about his children and how important family is to him. Some fans at the game had on his No. 35 jersey.
“The constant thing I’ve been hearing, and things happen when it’s time for them to happen, is ‘Why did it take so long?’” Abdul-Rauf said before he spoke to the LSU basketball team Friday, Feb. 28. “This is really nothing that I’ve pushed for. I’m grateful.”
He scored 48 points in just his third college game after he says legendary LSU coach, Dale Brown, came to him and asked him to score more points.
“When it actually happens, I don’t know what my reaction will be,” Abdul-Rauf said of the jersey ceremony. “I know it’s going to hit me, and I hope it doesn’t hit me when I get on that court tomorrow.”
Abdul-Rauf says he’s most proud of “standing up for what’s right" and that he wants to be remembered the way Brown described him: “A great basketball player, but a greater person than he is a basketball player.”
Abdul-Rauf addressed the LSU basketball team Friday, something he has done in years prior. Coach Will Wade said he hoped his players would learn to “be where [their] feet are” from the scoring legend.
“Sometimes you get so caught up in the past or so worried about what’s going to happen in the future, you forget to stay in the present moment,” Wade said. “Even the best shooters don’t shoot 50%, which means they’re missing more than they make. Being able to move past that and stay in the moment.”
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