What: "Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel"
Where: HBO, tonight, 10
Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, formerly Chris Jackson, scored 51 points for the Denver Nuggets in a 1995 game but is better known for taking a stand by refusing to stand for the national anthem before a game in 1996.
Abdul-Rauf, a devout Muslim who now is back in his hometown of Gulfport, Miss., is one of the stories on this edition of HBO's "Real Sports." And what he tells correspondent Bernard Goldberg is disturbing.
"The war on terrorism is a euphemism for a war on Islam," Abdul-Rauf says. He also says he is not convinced that Osama bin Laden is a suspect in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He claims that 13 Israelis arrested in New Jersey were filming the World Trade Center at the time of the attacks and implies Israel might have been involved. "There is a strong possibility a lot of people were involved," he says.
Goldberg points out how controversial such comments are. But Abdul-Rauf holds his ground. "I live with a free conscience," he says. Abdul-Rauf says he'd still like to play in the NBA but realizes that is unlikely because of his beliefs.
Another story deals with one of the most storied fights in Los Angeles boxing, the one in which 22-year-old Bobby Chacon stopped Danny "Little Red" Lopez in the ninth round at the Sports Arena in 1974.
The story, reported by Larry Merchant, focuses on the lives of the two fighters after that historic bout. Chacon suffers from slurred speech and memory loss. His wife committed suicide and he lost a son to gang violence. A minister, Ray Ramirez, who sparred with Chacon as a youngster, has rescued him from skid row.
Lopez, on the other hand, is in good health, has a family and is doing well in construction work.