Former NBA star Stephen Jackson has officially converted to Islam, which studies have shown is currently the world’s fastest growing major religion.
“Alhamdulilah. @tonetrump cant (sic) say how I appreciate u Ahki. Today was one of the best days of my life. Love for all who have love for all,” Jackson wrote in the caption of Instagram post on Jan. 6 that includes a photo of his conversion ceremony at Masijd Ibn Uthaymeen in Philadelphia, as well as a video of him explaining his conversion to his new faith.
He continued “@meed_al_aneeq thank u for your time and knowledge u dropped on me today. Honored to meet the brothers today.” He also gave a shout out to Chink Da Barber.
Jackson, 42, is a Houston native who played the small forward and shooting guard positions in the NBA. He retired in 2015 after a 17-year career. During his career he played for multiple teams including the Los Angeles Clippers, San Antonio Spurs, Milwaukee Bucks, Charlotte Bobcats, Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers, Atlanta Hawks and New Jersey Nets. He won a championship with the Spurs in 2003.
He also hosts a podcast with Matt Barnes called “All the Smoke with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson” – which was named the Best Sports Podcast in the Country at the iHeart Radio Awards.
Jackson received a warm welcome from his fellow Muslims to the faith. “Welcome to the family brother..1.2 billion strong,” wrote @thakiidzackii. “Congratulations on becoming a Muslim brother. Welcome to the Islamic world brother we welcome you. May Allah give a happy and long life,” wrote another user @haqq_dude.
“Mashallah brother. May Allah protect you and your loved ones and help you maintain a healthy and prosperous life. First Ramadan gon be hectic for you though,” wrote another.
“Bro these faith inspired posts are everything – I beseech Allah to bless you and your beautiful family ALWAYS! You been A1 since Day 1! We love you Stack!” added user @drsmashlove.
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Users of different faiths also congratulated Jackson. One even noted a difference in the discipline she has compared to her brother who is Muslim. “My brother Jonathan decided to go Muslim from Christianity and I’ve noticed such a positive change in him. Although I’m still a Christian I feel we take God for granted because my brother makes time to pray and read and is so disciplined than I am,” wrote @areth_jordan.
Another user, who also identified himself as a Christian, encouraged Black men of different faiths to unite to fight against racial injustice.
“To anyone who is not Muslim on this post do not let religion deter you from the plight that all black men need to stick together and grow together. As a Christian brother I salute all my Muslim bros,” wrote one user who’s handle is @dannyhaswords.
George Floyd was a personal friend of Jackson’s. When Floyd was murdered, Jackson said he was his “twin” (the two bear a striking resemblance) and they grew up together in Houston’s Third Ward. He added they were both “going down the same road … in the same neighborhoods, in the same cars, doing the same things.” The only difference between he and Floyd according to Jackson is “he had more opportunity.”
Jackson is not the first NBA player to convert to Islam. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar notably did so in 1968 before he entered the NBA.
In a follow-up Instagram post on Jan. 28, Jackson said aside from his family, “I’ve never received as much love from anything or anyone like I’ve received love from the Umma. I appreciate all my brothers and sisters. Inshallah.”
“Best decision I ever made. APDTA Love for all who have love for all,” Jackson added in the caption. “Calls, Text, Emails, Dms the support has been priceless.”