NBA guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf house goes up in flames

Tuesday, July 31st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Gulfport-AP) -- A fire destroyed the vacant home of N-B-A guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf Monday.

Abdul-Rauf, formerly known as Chris Jackson, said Monday he believes the fire in rural Hancock County was racially motivated.

Investigators have not determined the cause of the fire -- but Abdul-Rauf, a member of a Gulfport mosque and a former Gulfport High School basketball star, said it appears to be the latest, and perhaps final, act of vandalism intended to prevent his family from moving in.

Since construction began two years ago on the 8-thousand-600-square-foot house in the Necaise community -- Abdul-Rauf said the initials ``KKK'' and other graffiti have been painted on the walls.

He says a vehicle was driven through his closed garage on another occasion.

Abdul-Rauf said some of the Sheetrock and a portion of the ceiling also have collapsed and that he has sued the contractor. But before discovering the construction problems, Abdul-Rauf said he had been trying to sell the house because his wife refused to move in.

More than two-thirds of the two-story home's roof was gone after the fire and the windows were blown out.

Several walls have crumbled.

Abdul-Rauf says investigators told him it appeared the fire started in the central interior of the house based on the amount of damage to the exterior brick.