SHOWTIME Sports Documentary Films has announced STAND, a raw and unflinching examination of the brave and remarkable life of basketball star and social justice activist Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, which will premiere on SHOWTIME in early 2023.
The feature-length documentary includes the voices of some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment and details Abdul-Rauf’s unprecedented journey from schoolboy prodigy to NBA All-Rookie team to national outcast. In terms of athletic ability and activism, he was Stephen Curry before Stephen Curry and Colin Kaepernick before Colin Kaepernick.
STAND features in-depth interviews with basketball and entertainment stars, including the four-time NBA champion and NBA FINALS MVP Curry, nine-time NBA player and coach Steve Kerr, NBA Hall of Famer and three-time NBA FINALS MVP Shaquille O’Neal, former NBA player and current basketball analyst Jalen Rose, two-time Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali and rapper, actor and filmmaker Ice Cube.
The film is directed by Joslyn Rose Lyons, who is making her directorial debut. Executive producers are Sarah Allen, Mike Tollin and Mason Gordon of MSM. The film is produced by Colleen Dominguez with producer Tom Friend and consulting producer David Kelly (Golden State Entertainment).
STAND explores the personal struggles of Abdul-Rauf – born Chris Jackson in Gulfport, Mississippi – and how he overcame overwhelming odds to make it to basketball’s biggest stage.
“Mahmoud’s story is one of intense personal and professional struggles, fought with extraordinary courage and integrity, resulting in both tragedy and triumph,” said Stephen Espinoza, President of SHOWTIME Sports.
“His legacy of athletic achievement, social justice activism and unwavering personal courage serves to inspire the next generation of social justice activists to speak truth to power and gives hope to those who fight against mental health issues. We are proud to partner with Mahmoud and this talented group of filmmakers to set the record straight for Mahmoud’s pioneering work on and off the pitch.”
“It is an honor to collaborate with SHOWTIME and the production team and to work with our director, Joslyn Rose Lyons,” said Abdul-Rauf. “Joslyn brought a stellar and brilliant vision to this film. I hope my story will help heal and bring a new perspective to the world.”
“I am grateful to be working with SHOWTIME and the team on such a deeply inspiring story,” said Rose Lyons. “Mahmoud’s journey is one of courage and strength, and it is an honor to help shine a light on the areas of his life that have been left behind.”
Ostracized as a child due to vocal and motor tics and his absolute desire for perfection, Abdul-Rauf might never have escaped the extreme poverty of his hometown had it not been for a diagnosis. – Tourette’s syndrome – and his decision to get into basketball. Finding that the constant and repeated acts of dribbling, shooting, spinning, and jumping provided serenity, he would soon become one of the greatest scorers the college game had ever seen at Louisiana State University. Automatic on the free-throw line and with unlimited range, it was the precursor to Curry’s shooting marvel.
The film also details Abdul-Rauf’s revolutionary stand against racism and for social justice, and the backlash that followed. After changing his name and converting to Islam amid the heightened tensions of the Gulf War, Abdul-Rauf was exiled to his own locker room and was the target of hate speech and Islamophobia across the country.
Unable to sit still due to his Tourette Syndrome and unwilling to remain silent and cower in the face of prejudice, he chose not to stand to attention during the national anthem before a game in 1996. just two years later, he would not be signed by any NBA team, despite being at the peak of his career and averaging nearly 20 points per game during the 1995-96 season. , setting a precedent for Kaepernick.
More than 20 years later, after THE SLAUGHTER of Trayvon Martin and the “I Can’t Breathe” and Black Lives Matter movements, Abdul-Rauf recounts the moments that led him to where he is TODAY and contemplates an important question: Has he made peace with the way he was abused?
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