Think Colin Kaepernick was the first major athlete whose career in sports was torpedoed by protest? WPU senior Gary Dyer dug up this story of an athlete who faced a similar fate decades earlier. His Activism in Sports blog was created as part of a directed study in history. Here’s a taste of his post:
February 4th, 1996.
The Chicago Bulls team led by the greatest basketball player of all-time, Michael Jordan and his superstar wingman Scottie Pippen came to Denver to face a struggling Nuggets team. These Bulls would go on to set the record for most wins in an NBA season with a final regular season record of 72 wins and 10 losses. At this point in the season the red hot Bulls were at an astonishing 41 wins and 4 losses, facing a 19 wins and 26 losses Nuggets.
It’s obvious who was favored to win this game. Michael Jordan, up to his usual antics, finished the game with 39 points, but would somehow end up losing to the underdog by 6 points that night. How is this even possible? Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf is how. Mahmoud poured in 32 points versus the virtually inarguable best team ever, with the best player ever, and one of the best wingmen ever–serving them one of their 10 losses for the season and breaking an 18-game winning streak. Somehow Mahmoud would find himself seeing less time on the floor and more time on the bench in the next two seasons, before finally having to play overseas because no NBA team would sign him (Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf Stats). Bulls vs Nuggets 1996 match up.