In 1993, LSU basketball star Chris Jackson legally changed his name to Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf after converting to Islam. Along the way he became famous for fasting during Ramadan, even when it occurred during an NBA playoff season. He also refused to stand for the National Anthem, stating America’s “history of tyranny”.
Now, Abdul-Rauf will soon be changing the name on his driver’s license again.
On July 4, Abdul-Rauf announced he is converting from Islam to Judaism. He will be legally changing his name from Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf to Chaim Shalowitz.
In Hebrew, his name will be written as:
“This is a long, hard decision, but one I’m at peace with,” the soon-to-be Shalowitz told Ponderings from Pluto. “I’ve come to see Islam as a religion of oppression and tyranny, and I feel close to the God of the Jews.”
To mark his conversion, the Basketball Star Formerly Known as Chris Jackson and Abdul-Rauf will spend this fall in Israel on a tour of the Holy Land, where he’ll also play in charity basketball games. He also plans to donate money to build basketball courts on some of the more than 260 kibbutzes in Israel.
Or, as the basketball player will call them while learning Hebrew, kibbutzim.