Minister Farrakhan’s grandson Mustapha is not letting his “pop pop” get in the way of his dreams of being an NBA superstar:
Mustapha Farrakhan Jr. has lived under the microscope since childhood, so it was no surprise Wednesday that he walked out of the Knicks’ practice court in Greenburgh saying all the right things about his NBA opportunity, and about his controversial family.
The former Virginia guard and NBA draft hopeful is the grandson of Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam. But as he tours NBA cities for predraft workouts – hoping against mock drafts that his name will be called one week from Thursday in Newark – Farrakhan is just trying to fit in. It’s the story of his life.
“I just tell everybody, ‘How your grandfather is, that’s how my grandfather is,’” he said. “It doesn’t feel any different or weird to me. It’s just family.”
The 6-4 guard is still a practicing Muslim, but his preference is for basketball sneakers, not bow ties. Despite raising his scoring average seven points to 13.5 in his senior year, Farrakhan is not projected to be picked in either round of the draft, nor does he place that aspiration above “working hard.” His workout Wednesday was his fourth in this predraft cycle.
Basketball is his focus – specifically, improving his jump shot by not fading away. Farrakhan said he doesn’t want to become a minister and follow in the footsteps of his grandfather or father, Mustapha Sr., the Supreme Captain of the Nation of Islam. “At this point, I don’t see (becoming a minister) at all,” said Farrakhan, who graduated from Virginia with a sociology degree. “I really enjoy basketball, I really enjoy sports, so that’s what I’m concentrating on.”
In that respect, Farrakhan’s continued relationship with his grandfather is a hurdle for acceptance. And while he doesn’t try to distance himself from the Nation of Islam, he is clearly searching for his own identity, just as he’s searching for a spot in the NBA draft.
“Everybody has their beliefs or whatever they have about you until you get to know me,” he said. “Once they get to know me and my family, they know this guy’s a genuine person and a cool guy to be around. I just tell everybody, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover and if you want to come ask me a question or get to know me, just ask me, get to know me.’
Y’all think he has a chance to make it in the NBA???