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Abdul-Rauf Leaves NBA For Turkey

Sacramento Kings guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, who gained notoriety for his refusal to stand for the national anthem two years ago, is leaving the NBA to play basketball in Turkey.

Abdul-Rauf's contract with the Kings expires this summer. The flu and a corneal ulcer in his left eye caused him to miss the final three months of the season.

"In all honesty, he didn't fit into our plans for next season, so this resolves the issue of having to renounce rights to him," Kings vice president Geoff Petrie said.
"We're happy for him. He's still young enough that he can have a nice career."

Abdul-Rauf, 29, came to the Kings two years ago after six seasons with the Denver Nuggets. During his final season with Denver, he was suspended indefinitely when he refused to stand during The Star-Spangled Banner -- an action he said he took because of his Islamic beliefs. He said the flag was a symbol of tyranny and oppression.

He missed only one game before agreeing to stand and pray while the anthem was played.

Abdul-Rauf, formerly Chris Jackson, converted to Islam the year after the Nuggets made him the third pick overall in the 1990 NBA draft.

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