The former NBA star Stephen Jackson champion announced last week on social media that he is converting to Islam. Although he actually converted to the new faith on Jan 6 this year, he shared some videos relating to the same only later. There have been many National Basketball Association(NBA) players who were Muslim, however, Stephen Jackson’s journey to faith can give a new voice to American Muslims.
Jackson retired after 17 years in the NBA in the year 2015. He has played 14 seasons of the NBA and had an eminent as well as boisterous career. Jackson was active in the form of a frequent commentator on ESPN for his former league. His “All the smoke” was given the best podcasts award for NBA.
In an interview given to religionnewsservice.com, Stephen mentioned that though he has been reading about Islam for 7 months now, he has been received its experience for many years. Jackson told the journal that when one of his close friends, ‘Jabreel’, got murdered and he went to his funeral, he saw Jabreel’s mother, who had the same certainty as to his son. The mother was comforted in a manner knowing that his son was going to paradise, god willing. This made Jackson’s belief in the faith formidable.
George Floyd Killing and Stephen Jackson’s Muslim Conversion
He also mentioned in the interview that the killing of his longtime friend ‘George Floyd’ made him come closer to the belief of mortality, and he went into a quest of what is the purpose of his life. He decided at that moment that ‘Allah’ wants him to grow as a believer. Stephen said that Allah had touched his soul deeply, and he couldn’t wait anymore to take this call of converting to Islam. With his decision, he says that he feels a lot stronger than before.
After the unfortunate George Floyd killing which sparked nationwide protests, Stephen who considered Floyd as his ‘twin’ became even more active in the movement for racial justice. He was seen protesting passionately after the Floyd murder and participated actively in marches and rallies held in Minneapolis, USA. Now, after his conversion to Islam, he says that he feels the Ummah (the global Muslim community) is there to support him. He also mentioned that he is highly inspired by Malcolm X, as he always fought for the right thing.
Stephen Jackson Persevered in spite of All Tragedies
Jackson was brought up by a single mother in Houston, Texas, and also faced tragedy at a young age when his 16-year-old half-brother was violently murdered. Braving all odds, Jackson made it big and made a successful career in NBA. He played for several teams, including the Golden State Warriors, Milwaukee Bucks, and Atlanta Hawks, and Indiana Pacers.
Talking about his family and friends’ reaction to his conversion, he told the journal that his Mom has accepted the decision graciously, looking at how Islam has brought peace to Jackson. Also, his kids have supported him. He said that he has does this for no one but Allah, and it’s only Allah who has put him here when he put his knees on the ground and asked for guidance. “So I’m gonna stay the course, inshallah (God willing),” said the 42-year-old.
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