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#836​ NBA Star Stephen Jackson Exclusive Interview After Accepting Islam

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The Deen Show

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Cuz it's bringing tears to my eyes now because I know is that you Steven Jackson? I said do Allah Allah Allah Allah wa shadow Mama rasulillah I was I've always been at a place while i was growing towards peace, but I knew it. So congratulations, my brother no day that I've had in my life has started off that way since I've been praying since I took my Shahada. I've had at least 10 NBA players, actually because my whole family's Baptist and I just had a conversation with my mom. I'm gonna mention some names Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen Magic Johnson, Tony kuko, Larry Bird, Hakeem Olajuwon Shaquille O'Neal, my big brother, this is

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a salon with a comb.

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How you doing my brother? I'm pretty good. How are you? Is that you? Steven Jackson. Yes, sir, on the D show. And hamdu Lillahi Rabbil aalameen. It's really an honor to have you on the program.

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We'd like to introduce our next guest, Stephen Jackson, you could tell us well, why don't we start off for the people who don't follow basketball. Tell us some of the highlights of your career of your accomplishments. First off,

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I started off, got dropped out of high school

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in the Klan and NBA for 14 years winning the championship with the San Antonio Spurs in 2003. coming out of high school, I played in the biggest High School game with Kobe Bryant, Jermaine O'Neal, Tim Thomas all the time basketball players.

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Had a great year for what I said a 14 year career played on the weibliche team.

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And Golden State, the first team to be the ACC in the seven game series. I mean, excuse me be the one seat in a seven game series. And I just I just been blessed one of those guys who earned his money and, you know, appreciated everything that the game gave me. But I used to follow basketball. I remember the names like and I saw you, you. You played with him up for a little bit. Michael Jordan, for instance. Right? And then you guys kind of went back and forth. He was he was what was he the he was the owner of the team that you played for? How did that work out with? With you and Mike? Yeah, at that time. I was with golden state and I wanted to get traded and they traded me to

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Charlotte, Mike traded for me. And he was the owner at the time. And you know, Mike is a competitive guy. He's somebody we all look up to. And we're both guys but competitive guys. And he challenged me one day in practice because the team wasn't playing well. And

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he decided to get in the mix, get into practice and try to stir some things up to try to get us going into work to where me and him had words going back and forth. But it was it was good for us and it was good for the team around because we needed that at the time. I'm going to mention some names and you tell me These are the people that I remember back when I follow basketball a bit more magic johnson have you and have you met Tell me Have you met them Have you played with it with with these people I mentioned I played I played one game against Mike actually I didn't play but I watched him play I was on the team he played against the Spurs

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never played against magic but I met magic magic is top five. All time one of the greats.

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Scottie Pippen Scottie Pippen, somebody I've had in my game after you know a lot of guys you know, we all looked up to MJ but I've had in my game after Scottie Pippen and Grant Hill those guys were similar to my my style of build they play like me and those out it was it was easier for me to pattern my game after guys like that. Larry Bird ought to go with the white Jordan.

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mean, there's not too many guys ever to come to the coming in VA and get 40 with the left hand on purpose of Burberry was different. One of a kind man and I got a chance to play for him in Indiana. He was the general manager when I was in Indiana and and he's one of those people that always spoke highly of Tony cook coach. I don't know too much about him. But I know when he came to the league from Croatia, I think

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he was he was he just set the league on fire. Nobody expect him to be that good, because he didn't play too well against the American team in the Olympics. So everybody had kind of counted him out. But he showed up to the NBA and really did his thing Hakeem Olajuwon somebody that I've always looked up to I grew up in Port Arthur, Texas, which is our from Houston. And I looked up to Kim Ally's one growing up and was was a blessing Mashallah. He was a he called me.

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And I never met him in my life. The whole time. I was an MBA, I never met him anything. And

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you know, after I took my Shahada, I got a call from a FaceTime call from him and got a chance to talk to him and meet him.

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I'm just it was, it was unbelievable, you know, to be able to compensate we have somebody I've been looking up to. And for him to tell him he's proud of me taking the steps I'm taking and doing what I'm doing, man, it meant a lot to me. So I mentioned this the last the Muslim basketball player. Now there were some others also who they would actually fat they would play but they were fasting. Most of everybody

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passed before the game. I thought I heard that, you know, he was fasting for 95. And he wanted me and I texted him, it was the first day of Ramadan. Who were some of these? Did you know some of these? There was one famous one. Ralph was it? Who? And do you remember watching any of these at that time and saying, How are these guys you know, they're, they're playing basketball, but they're fasting? Did you? Did you ever hear stories like this? No. Because at that time, you know, I'm one of those guys, I stay in my own bubble. So I really I really didn't know, you know, you know, I really didn't know what they were doing or any other player. You know what? They were fast enough. I

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didn't know what they were doing in their free time. I was too but I was too busy locked into my own monster. Now something's coming around the corner fat Ramadan is just right around the corner. Are you excited?

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Is this going to be your first official Ramadan? first official Ramadan? I'm excited? How is it you said something. Now this is really important, because here at the D show, I mean, what we focus on is helping to clear many of the misconceptions, you know, a lot of the false fears, you know, bridging the gap of misunderstanding. Now, you said, You've been saying some words, and it's kind of like, if I tell people, you know, when they hear Hallelujah, it's like, you know, God is the greatest, you know what I mean? Allahu Akbar is kind of the same. When you say, shots of the Shahada, tell us you know, and this is basically just testifying what's giving birth to what's

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already in your nature, that there's nothing worthy of worship, except the Creator of the heavens and earth. And that's what you did you acknowledge that there's only one in one God, and you are going to follow the last and final messenger and this would automatically include not exclude all the preceding messengers, Jesus just happening happened to be one of those, you know, we have a deep love and reverence for Jesus. What had it What had you give birth to what was already inside of you? What was that breaking point that you finally, you know, I, we read some of your story that you had, you know, some Muslim friends some I believe, was a Muslim mozzie who was staying with you and then

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you were seeing you know, their character and you know, how they were living and what was that breaking point that finally you ended up taking your and then you had our brother tone, Muslim tone? What was it at the end and congratulate you because many people they acknowledge that this is the truth but they don't have the fortitude nor the courage they're worried more worried about what he or she, the media is going to say. But you had that four to two in that courage. So congratulations by Brother, you know, and what was it that finally how'd you take that bold step? Um, doula. I said, Do Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah, why should I do why no, Mama Rasool Allah.

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It's hard to explain. Because, for me,

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I've always been searching for the truth of my heart, not just the truth of what I hear what I see. And,

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and

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through different testimonies through different trials and tribulations in life.

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I know for a fact that I was pulling me home to every situation. And me being so intrigued about

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the Islamic culture, talking to my my friends that were Muslim, ask them, you know, what they say when all these things wasn't a coincidence, it wasn't a coincidence. And it started seven years ago, you know, you know, and I think seeing one of my close Muslim Brothers get buried, and being at a Muslim funeral for the first time, that changed my life. Because everything in Islam is personal. Everything Islam is is is heartfelt, you know, it's meaningful, everything is meaningful, and to be able to see

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his mom and me and his actual family members, actually the ones putting the dirt on him and burying him, like that touched me was the last ones there. And that was my first time experiencing that. So it's a lot of things but I could talk all day, about the about my testimony and how Allah has been pulling me all this time to come home. But all I can say is

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I made the decision when it was in my soul.

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And it was an easy one. I woke up one morning called tone. I told Tom I'm ready to take my Shahada. It wasn't even a question. And and and he set it up and I got on the plane with Julian and got it done, but it has to be in your heart. Like I said, this is been seven years. I mean,

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ready to walk back in the doors and come back home and

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I'm just I'm just happy to happen at the right time. 100 again, congratulations. We're really excited, elated. Do you see this happening a lot. I mean, because now it's kind of like people, they're in the spotlight, you know? And then you recognize the truth. But sometimes now, it's like the worry about what what people are going to say, you know what I mean? My career can it, you know, end up being hindered, can it? Do you see this being an obstacle for me? It might be for them without for me. I mean, if people know anything about me, I've never always stood on Moore's and the way I live, I never I never worried about $1. Because what for you, what Allah has for you ain't

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gonna miss you for nothing is gonna hit you directly in the face. And I know that, and I know that no human being controls my fate of what I have going on in my life. So therefore, that's never been how I thought, Man, I, if it's something that I lost, because because I'm screaming, I love Allah, then so be it. Let me lose it. It wasn't for me, and I'm winning and not and I've always stood that way. Everybody doesn't doesn't have that in their hearts to stand away. And I understand that. But for me, I'm gonna scream as loud as I can, whoever don't like it, then. So big. Let's go back to some other greats in the basketball, Abdul Kareem Jabbar? Have you met him played with him? I

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haven't met him. But me, me and him. Don't see eye to eye on a lot of things. I respect him one of the best players to ever to ever play the game. But I don't I don't agree with a lot of things that he says these days. When you look at the history of the African American people, did that also play into you accepting Islam, when you look at, for instance, Malcolm X, when you look at Muhammad Ali when they went back to their roots, right? They saw that it was Islam submission to the Creator, not the creation did this and then could the kid die? Have you seen I mean, you've seen the roots when he's calling out a lot.

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Definitely Malcolm X and and Muhammad Ali, of course, IV I even got a text from Muhammad Ali's daughter and Malcolm X his wife, yes. So I'm just honored man, I've never felt so good. Like I said, I want a championship. I've done a lot of things in my life. But I've never been, I never received so much love than I received for the offices offices. I took my Shahada. It's unbelievable. But although Muhammad Ali Malcolm X, definitely. I mean, I, all I do now is study these guys. You know, I read and I study everything, because a lot of the things that Malcolm X stood for and what he was fighting for, is a lot of same things that I'm standing in fighting for. So So I understand that and

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if I could be, if not greater than him, I could be close to Malcolm X, then I've done my service he on his own. Were you one of those at all affected by the many, many you know, nowadays, the hate machine is it's a big business bashing Islam. Did you at all at one time get affected by that, you know, years ago? Did you hear certain things and then you know, did it turn you off? Did you a lot of times you'll say Muslim and and right away synonymous with that people think oh, terrorists, you know, terrorists, Islam, they always you know, attributed with the boogeyman coming to get you where you at all at one time before you got the proper knowledge and education. Were you at all of you

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know, affected by that some of this negative propaganda. Never because I like I said, I have Muslim friends. I have Muslim brothers. I never, I've never really thought that I've been one guy, man, I said, I grew up around so many different races. And I told somebody from every race that I love them and mean it. So that's something like that wouldn't be in my circle. You know, because because we have relationships with everybody where we live, so Nah, nah, I never had that type of thought. But I never even thought about it either. Because what people think, don't matter at all. And then like I said, that's never been the thought of me, you reminded me of one of the companions of Prophet

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Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon Alma de la Juan.

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When he, you know, he, he went out and he wanted to, you know, go out and he didn't care what others would say. And he just, you know, to testify said aren't we on the truth, right, and said, Let's get out there.

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Let it be known.

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So this is one of the characteristics that you remind them of the law. Let me go back to some basketball players. Kobe Bryant, my idol.

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I admired this guy since a teenager We grew up together. was able to play the McDonald's game with him spend some time with him. I just admired him because everything he said he was gonna be as a teenager. He came true. You know a lot of a lot of times a teenager with your teenage you have goals you have dreams, and you want them to come true but you don't work for them to come to you hoping they come to you pray they come true. Coby worked for he wanted he dedicated his life to it and

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I just admired that because

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he never wanted to be a basketball player, he wanted to be one of the best players. And he and he did that and, and for where he was going after basketball to, to put the light on women's basketball things he was doing with his family and becoming a one of the best fathers ever to lose him hurt a lot, man, and I'm gonna forever admire him miss him. And I can talk about Kobe all day, because there's no there's no other basketball player, I looked up to more than Kobe, how did how are you and most people because, again, he's at a point of his life, that you know, the whole world is open up to him. And when that when when the helicopter went down, he died. I mean, many people are not

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thinking about their reality, that moment that death is awaiting all of us. You know, we did this also, you know, that moment when he died. And then a lot of people, they just they get numb at that moment, but then they go on with life did that how did that affect you? And just the reality of death, you know, to mean, the reality of the real, real, you know, awakening moment when, when our soul leaves this body, how much does that also play? You know, and your decision, you know, to take this life more serious to really reflect what's the purpose of life? Why am I here? Why have I been created? I think with me, the only thing that shocks me about death is just the

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timing of it. You can't predict it. Yeah, that's the only thing that bothers me. You know, I'm,

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I'm kind of, I'm honestly at the point where I don't fear death, because I know who's protecting me and who's watching over me and the service I'm doing here. Oh, man, I know, I'm gonna be rewarded for it. So so I'm not really worried about and I don't think about I just think that the shock factor of death and the realization of knowing the person you love is gone. I think that's what affects me, but, and I still cry. You know, I see pictures of me and Coby I wake up because I know the person he was, you know what I mean? I know the person he was and i i play back out moments a lot, but at the end of the day,

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like you said, I'm one of those people, I understand that the day is coming for all of us. I just know that what my heart is and whatever the day decides not me, I'm gonna be ready. Do you like to point that Islam has a complete blueprint for life from a from when you wake up, you know, starting the day off? You see a lot of people even Kobe was talking about this, you know, a lot of the celebrities like Tony Robbins and all they talk about meditation and being grateful, but we start our day by being grateful to the Creator of the heavens and earth with budget. And then from there, you know, a whole system, how to be morally upright, how to, you know, live for justice, and how to

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get that peace, you know, what I mean? That How did that play into your decision? How does that, you know, play into your life now, you know, I never thought I'd be the face of the biggest civil rights movement ever, you know, all 18 countries 50 states are processed at the same time and I never thought I'd be the face of that. So so with whom much is given, much is required. And I know what the responsibility of me you know, taking on the burden for so many people and getting love from so many places that

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I never want to be a person that's contradicting myself you know, I've always was a person that

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you can see you can see my emotions on my sleeve. And

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I was I've always been at a place while i was growing towards peace, but I knew

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I honestly knew once I got to that point where

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I accepted Islam and I got I came back home and I got to the point where I was forced

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to teach myself discipline I was forced to teach myself control. I think I knew that I was gonna be this person once I got to a point where I was forced to do it. And and and

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I can honestly say that my days

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start off so much better.

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When I wake up and pay for in the morning, that's my my

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no day that I've had in my life has started off that way. Since I've been pregnant and people can think I just be saying stuff and you know, I but in my soul, like it's bringing tears to my eyes now because I know, I know how I feel now and I wake up when I started my days, it's a totally different feeling.

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It's a totally different feeling. And 100 Shaquille O'Neal, my big brother.

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Do everything I've been through, through me standing up and saying things that going against the grain and having hard to say things. Shaq is one person that always had my back, never never shied away from

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Because the media was trying to blackball me and things like that, he never shied away. He always had my back. He always spoke up. I tell you a quick story. I was in, I was in court for a traffic ticket, and a traffic ticket in. I think I don't have my tags and some of my car. And soon as I stand up, the judges bought the dress man and judge that before I address you, let me call somebody right quick. And she called somebody on FaceTime and turn the phone around, and it was [???]. He just started laughing on the phone and she ended up dropping the charges and everything. So Shaq is one of those guys that I think

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he takes he texts me at least once or twice a week to tell me keep going because he knows. You know, he appreciates me being the leader I am but he also knows I'm like a little brother to him. So he supports me in every case, Shaquille Is it true that Shaquille O'Neal, he's also he's Muslim, and Shaquille O'Neal Muslim?

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I'm de la MI, Allahu Allah. But when I speak to him, he gives me silabs. I don't know. I'm not sure. Um, we never had that conversation. What would you say now to some of your old

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NBA partners, if you got a chance to, you know, to sit to talk, you know, talk about, you know, serious issues, like, again, the billion dollar question, what's the purpose of life? You know, you realize what it is now you're living it Islam, you know, how would you what, where would you start off? How would you you know, go ahead. And, you know, and what's the feedback that you've got from some of you know, some of your players, some of your former colleagues, players? Well, I've always been a leader, bro. I've always been the guy who

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kind of went opposite from the crowd did my own thing. And with that, I've always stood on more reserved respect, and the younger generation and all NBA players, they respect me because I'm a stand up guy. You know, I don't I don't being uncompromising. Nothing for nobody. I stand on what I believe so a lot of guys respect that. So ever. I can tell you, I can honestly say, since I took my Shahada, I've had at least 10 NBA players ask me, Why did I Why did I come back home to Islam, and, and how long I've been on my journey, and to send them stuff to read. And I have five NBA players, at least five that I send, stuff that I read scriptures, from the Quran, and the pages from books

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that I'm reading, I send to them daily, every morning. And actually one NFL player as well. So

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a lot of guys are asking these questions because they know for me, how real I am or what I stand on. And for me to take this step, you have no idea how beautiful this is to hear hum de la not only were you brave enough, you know, and certain enough that you ended up accepting the truth that there's no deity worthy of worship except the Creator of the heavens, the earth. And Muhammad is the last and final messenger. That's what you keep saying by Shahada. And again, this would automatically include Jesus, how's your relationship now because many people they don't know that we love and revere Jesus not as a god or little son of God, but as a mighty messenger of God, you know, so is this new? Is

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this something that's new to a lot of people that they don't know how much love that you can't be a Muslim? Unless you believe in love Jesus, right. And it's hard explain it to you know, it's hard to explain to him you know, he's definitely one of the one of the one of the mighty properties we all know that he's just not a God to us. And even he said it because my whole family's Baptist and I just had a conversation with my mom, you know, cuz she's what she's watching Malcolm X, she, this is like, 10 minutes ago, and she said, Malcolm X, don't believe in heaven. And I had explained it to her why he said that, you know, just like, we don't believe in spirits, you know, God is a man, God,

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you know, this is a lot of stuff. You don't say, it's just a lot of stuff, how, you know, how they, how they make God, to be some type of spirit and spook, you know what I mean? And I just tried to explain that to her that he's not, you know, it's just some real tricky conversations to have with my family. But we got to have them and we got to have them eventually. Absolutely. Many people don't know you can say a love and Aramaic the actual language Jesus spoke he was a Aloha. So he would call on the credit of heaven sir Allah La ha, this is the same God using Christians who are Arabic speaking, they say a law so this is not some different God a moon God, no, no, no, we don't worship

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the sun, the moon or anything in Croatia, but the one God So just a couple more questions. Stephen Jackson, tell us just a switch now from something that's also really important. I mean, you're an athlete, professional athlete for all these years. You know, what what would you say are the keys besides you know, putting in the dedication to hard work? nutrition is important factor. How is your nutrition? You know, what would you like to eat?

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Well, I mean, I'm a chicken guy like

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a chicken all day, every day all day chicken is my go to.

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I'm a big fluid guy. Water, vitamin water, stuff like that. I don't. I really don't eat too much red meat. You know, of course. Nobody.

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pork butt. I'm a chicken guy, man, I eat a lot of salads. We are healthy around here. We don't really eat too much. And we really don't experiment too much either. You know, we

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I've tried to allow food in Philly, I got it. I got to really get into that. But uh, I'm real simple, man. I really, I really don't take too many chances. We really don't do too when the season is done like that, you know? And my, my daughter here, she's an athlete as well. So what else? What advice do you have for people coming up, you know that hard work and people who are now you've coming up and you got the streets will take over. And then they just, you know, lose everything. People are just, you know, focused on a bling bling. You know what I mean? What What advice do you have for the youth, you know, that looking up to you, someone like you? What advice do you give

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them, you know, to maybe some words of encouragement, you know, to help get them through the rat race of life, trying to lead by example. You know, I think with the younger generation, they feel misled by material things, you know, social media and all this stuff to tell them to make them think, or may take a picture what happened is look like when they happiness, that's not real life. It's all a facade. And I think, you know, when you can sit down and and teach these youngsters, you know, a lot of times it's good for me, because I'm talking to experience, I'm not telling them about a story or telling them something that I saw somebody else go through, no, I actually went through

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this. So when we can able to reach these young young kids, and teach them about our experiences, and show them what got us to this point, they maybe they can avoid some of the hiccups and mistakes we made that got us to this point, you know, it's all about, it's all about teaching through your experiences. But at the same time, when you teach them something, and taking like the guns and the drugs out the hand, you got to put some minute, so so we got to have something to substitute. You know, when we take when we tell them to get off the street, and taking the guns out their hands and stop selling the drugs, we got to have something to put in their hand. So they can retrain

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themselves when I just sit not down the block, which I forgot what to do. So it's a lot today, but at the end of the day, man, you have what you have everything in you are ready to be great. You don't need to wake up at your house or look on social media go outside and wait for somebody to tell you that you're great. Everything you need to be successful and being stars already in you. And you have to know that before you walk out your house. The last thing was I want to ask you about this moment when you saw at the funeral you saw this mother burying her child and this is something that captivated you you know to see her talk about if you love my son put the dirt on him because from

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God we come to God we return Can you share that with us that story? Yeah.

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His mom was just the strongest person I've ever met strongest woman I've ever seen the last son like she wasn't, she wasn't bothered she didn't shed a tear, the comfort of ally

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the knowing that Allah has the sun protect protected like I seen it all over face. You know, normally when you go to normal field, a mother's falling out the chair and screaming and all that none of that was going on at the firm. None of that was going on. Everybody was at peace. Everybody knew, you know everything that was going on and for her to

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be so strong and to and to single people out. That was my first time meeting her at the funeral. So for her to single me out and other guys out. And knowing that we were the closest to him, you know, it meant a lot and just that just that whole moment man of, of knowing how personal it is. You know, I honestly

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I honestly can't wait to the day for me to see who to see who really loved me. You know what I mean? For those people out there now they're listening. They're watching you. They could be NBA players, the average Joe the average person, you know, they hear all these negative things about Islam, you know, they're tuning into the deen show. You know, they like the simple message of worshipping the Creator, not the creation, doing good deeds being morally upright. And what would you say to them? You know, what advice would you give to them man, listen, if you claim you righteous

00:29:14--> 00:29:33

This is where righteous is. Islam 100% righteous, there's no racism. We're we're 100% righteous. And when I say love for all who have love all that means I love only the righteous. And that's what Islam is about. That's beautiful because I SLM Islam

00:29:35--> 00:29:59

says love all mankind. And that's what we're sharing this message this message of peace peace acquired by submitting your will to the creator heavens and earth. Tell me one's a lot Do you? Do you have any plans on visiting? Have you visited Chicago? Are you planning on visiting anytime soon? Yeah, I go to Chicago a lot. Actually. I got something going with some guys on the ground out there to do something. You know, I've been out there wants to do something for the city of Chicago for the youth and I got to plan on coming back real soon. What is

00:30:00--> 00:30:10

So can we get you here in the studio? We're right in the city in Chicago our studio. Can we get you our next meeting? This is our first kind of I called the breaking the ice but we can ensure

00:30:13--> 00:30:27

shala we can make it happen when you're in Chicago. Where do you Where do you reside? Where are you in Atlanta? Okay, so either if I get to Atlanta first or have you know have you hooked up with our brother a loon he's in Atlanta Have you met him? Hey, you know what's funny?

00:30:28--> 00:30:30

My partner Al Harrington my brother

00:30:32--> 00:30:37

number last week said long want to speak to me so I'm glad to remind him I gotta call him when I get off with you there Yeah.

00:30:38--> 00:31:03

I'm glad we could we were you know a part of making that thing happen with a reminder I want to thank you I look forward to I want to hold the on net Chicago we got a date you me here and these show huh? inshallah. Okay, thank you very much for being our guest on the show. May God Almighty Allah preserve you protect you and make you a source you know, goodness for the for the people sharing this man. Thank you so much, my brother

00:31:04--> 00:31:22

walaikum salam ROM to Africa. And if you like this episode in the show, like this video, share this video far and wide and support us on our Patreon page so we can continue this work. Thank you for tuning in. Please be huge. Assalamu Aleikum subscribe right now.