August 03, 2010
Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf has been out of the NBA for so long that the last time he played in the league, the Grizzlies were still in Vancouver. Considering he was 31 years old during his last stint with Canada's other franchise, it's not surprising that we haven't seen Abdul-Rauf stateside for a while. For some reason, NBA teams aren't fond of aging players, possibly because they're worse at playing basketball. Beats me.
Rather than enjoying the leisurely lifestyle of an early retiree, Abdul-Rauf kept playing basketball. And even though he's nearly 10 years removed from NBA action, he's still balling for money. From the Japan Times:
Former NBA guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf has agreed to terms of a contract for the 2010-11 season and will return to the Kyoto Hannaryz for a second season, the bj-league team announced on Friday.
Abdul-Rauf, 41, is the highest-profile player in the history of the bj-league. He was the No. 3 pick in the 1990 NBA Draft and played for the Denver Nuggets (1990-96), Sacramento Kings (1996-98) and Vancouver Grizzlies (2000-01). A former college scoring sensation at Louisiana State, Abdul Rauf has also played in Russia, Italy, Greece and Saudi Arabia.
He averaged 17.9 points in 38 games for the expansion Hannaryz last season. He scored 20 or more points 19 times. In The Japan Times' second annual Top 20 ranking of bj-league players, Abdul-Rauf was listed at No. 19.
Big up yourself, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. I hope I'm still able to walk at age 41, let alone average almost 18 points a game in any basketball league. Judging by that highlight tape above — with clips taken from his first season for Kyoto Hannaryz — Abdul-Rauf looks good, both in a basketball sense and in a "Deron Williams without thinning hair" sense. Pretty impressive for an old guy.
Abdul-Rauf is really just following in the footsteps of former Jazzer David Benoit who played and coached in the bj-league. I guess if you've ever been a successful basketball player in Louisiana (where Benoit played in high school and Abdul-Rauf played in college) there will be a basketball job waiting for you in Japan. Good to know Shaquille O'Neal(notes) has options if this whole free-agency thing doesn't work out.
(h/t Marcel Mutoni and the ShareBros)