Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, formally Chris Jackson, created one of the NBA's biggest controversies by refusing to stand during the national anthem because of his Islamic beliefs. He stated that the flag was a symbol of oppression and that the United States had a long history of tyranny. On March 12, 1996 the NBA suspended Abdul-Rauf for his refusal to stand, but the suspension lasted only one game. Two days later, the league was able to work out a compromise with him, whereby he would stand during the playing of the national anthem, but could close his eyes and look downward.
There are many who believe this led to Abdul-Rauf being blackballed by the league as his NBA career only lasted two more seasons after the incident. For a player who was averaging 19 points and 7 assists while shooting an amazing 93% from the free throw line during that particular season, it's hard to believe otherwise. Watch the video below to hear Mamoud explain in his own words on what he believes happened.
Basketball – My Best Years Were Taken Away: