During the 1990s, point guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf was one of the most accurate free-throw shooters in the NBA, topping charts while playing for the Denver Nuggets. However, he sparked major controversy with his national anthem protest in 1996, leading to a suspension. Despite his talent, Abdul-Rauf’s career was impacted by his controversial views. Today, estimates place Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf’s net worth at around $5 million. Examining his background, basketball career, protest, and current work provides insight into Abdul-Rauf’s earnings and net worth over the years.
Early Life and College
Born Chris Jackson in 1969 in Gulfport, Mississippi, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf grew up poor, battling Tourette’s syndrome and a stutter. His family often relied on food stamps and government assistance. Showing immense talent on the court, he earned a basketball scholarship to Louisiana State University (LSU).
At LSU, Jackson—who had converted to Islam—excelled. He overcame Tourette’s to lead the NCAA in scoring in 1989 and 1990, averaging over 29 points per game in his senior year. Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf was picked third overall in the 1990 NBA draft after finishing his collegiate career.
Standout NBA Career
Abdul-Rauf joined the Denver Nuggets in 1990 with a 6 year, $13.7 million contract. After a solid rookie year averaging over 14 points per game, he truly excelled in his sophomore season. The 1993 season saw Abdul-Rauf selected for the All-Star weekend Three-Point Shootout, leading the league in free throw percentage, and averaging 19.2 points per game.
His 1995-96 season was arguably Abdul-Rauf’s best. He raised his scoring average to 19.4 points, again led the league in free throws, and hit a personal record 51 points against the Utah Jazz. However, controversy soon overshadowed his stellar play.
National Anthem Protest
During the 1995-96 season, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf started protesting the US national anthem. He would either not stand, or stretch during the song. Abdul-Rauf stated the anthem conflicted with his Muslim faith. After being suspended by the NBA, they reached a compromise where he could silently pray during the anthem. But come 1996-97, the Nuggets traded Abdul-Rauf to the Sacramento Kings.
While Abdul-Rauf continued his NBA career for a few more seasons, and even led the 6th Man of the Year award voting in 1998, he never averaged over 14 points a game again. His minutes and scoring declined sharply. After later stints in Turkey and Japan, Abdul-Rauf left the NBA in 2001.
Later Career and Estimated Net Worth
Since retiring from the NBA in 2001, Abdul-Rauf has played in multiple smaller pro leagues and tours. He still actively competes in BIG3 tournaments in his early 50s. The former NBA star also coaches youth players and runs youth basketball camps.
Additionally, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf has invested in real estate holdings including homes, apartment complexes, and land. Reports estimate Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf’s current net worth between $5 to $10 million. His annual NBA veteran pension likely provides over $70,000 per year. Overall between basketball earnings, coaching, and real estate investments, Abdul-Rauf appears financially secure later in life.
Breaking Down His Career Earnings
During his NBA career from 1990 to 2001, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf earned just over $12.6 million in salary alone. Estimating an average annual salary of $1.2 million during his prime earning years, his total NBA earnings likely reached $16 to $18 million when including endorsements and other income.
His highest annual salaries included:
- 1990: $700,000
- 1993: $2.3 million
- 1998: $2.7 million
After being traded by the Nuggets, Abdul-Rauf never made over $1.5 million again. His income took a major hit from his anthem protest fallout.
Even without huge NBA riches in his later career though, real estate investments and continued basketball work have provided Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf with steady income the past two decades.
Key Takeaways on Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf’s Net Worth
Examining Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf’s background and career reveals key points about the player once known as Chris Jackson:
- His talent made him an early NBA standout, with Abdul-Rauf leading in scoring and free throws.
- His controversial protest during the national anthem likely damaged future earnings.
- Investments in real estate and continued work in basketball provide income today.
- Current estimates place Abdul-Rauf’s net worth reasonably between $5 and $10 million.
While Abdul-Rauf’s career was perhaps shortened by controversy, the former NBA star found financial stability through basketball and real estate work.
Final Thoughts on Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf’s Finances
Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf demonstrated elite skills during his NBA career, though his national anthem protest created complex ripple effects. With less lucrative playing years after the controversy, investments and coaching income sustain Abdul-Rauf today. Though likely short of his true hoops potential, Abdul-Rauf’s net worth remains solid. His journey represents an intriguing story of skills, beliefs, conflict and finances in pro basketball history.
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