This February, Sports Illustrated is celebrating Black History Month by spotlighting a different iconic athlete or group of athletes every day. Today, SI looks back on the legacy of Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf.

Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf didn’t stand for the national anthem, and—like Tommie Smith and John Carlos before him and Colin Kaepernick after him—was punished in the process. 

For the better part of the 1996 NBA season, Abdul-Rauf either stayed in the locker room or didn’t stand during the anthem, citing his belief that the song represented tyranny and oppression. 



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