BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) On Saturday night, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf’s number 35 jersey was permanently placed in the rafters of the LSU PMAC, where he put up over 1800 points in two seasons as an LSU Tiger.
Formerly known as Chris Jackson, the basketball legend returned to the arena he built a legacy in to celebrate a career….that he says was inspired by so many others.
“You never do this alone,” Abdul-Rauf says. “I don’t think anything in life happens on your own. There’s always people and experiences associated with your so-called rise to the top. Teammates, coaches.”
His coach, iconic LSU basketball head coach Dale Brown, was one of many former coaches and players at the unveiling on Saturday in support. When asked what kind of legacy he wants to be remembered for, Abdul-Rauf recalls just one of many conversations with his coach.
“Dale Brown used to say back in the day, this was sort of his saying, at the time my name was Chris Jackson of course, that Chris is a great basketball player,” Abdul-Rauf says. “He’s a greater person than he is a basketball player. When it’s all said and done, basketball is just a tool as far as I’m concerned. The most important thing for me is the person that I am and leaving that type of legacy.”
The day before the unveiling, Abdul-Rauf wondered what it would be like to see his jersey in the spotlight.
“I’m still trying to process everything and make sense of it,” Abdul-Rauf says. “I don’t know how, when it actually happens, I don’t know what my reaction is gonna be.”
His reaction – tearful. Abdul-Rauf touched on the adversity he faced growing up, always knowing he wanted to give the best life he could to his children one day.
“Growing up without a father, I would wake up and I would train,” Abdul-Rauf says. “I would train relentlessly because one of my goals was to have a family someday and to be able to raise children.”
Abdul-Rauf was a two-time All-American and two-time SEC Player of the Year. He still holds the NCAA freshman scoring record he set in 1989 averaging just over 30 points per game.