INDIANAPOLIS -- When Mustapha Farrakhan showed up at the NBPA Top 100 camp last month, his new buddies all wanted to know if he was related to the other Farrakhan.
Yes, Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, is his grandfather, but Mustapha is following a different script -- and
he's proving it this summer.
"I don't feel any pressure because being a Farrakhan, everybody
doesn't know us as a basketball family," he said.
The talented 6-foot-3 shooting guard wants to change that perception, and this week's Nike All-America Camp might help. In
the first three days, Farrakhan strung together impressive
performances in front of a who's who of college coaches and some
He also blends into a camp that includes several children of famous sports figures, including Jeffrey Jordan, whose father, Michael, has watched his son every day.
It's difficult not to associate a Farrakhan with the family
business, as his father, also named Mustapha, is a supreme captain
in the controversial Nation of Islam. But Farrakhan tries to live
like a typical teenager.
He likes sports and music. He attends church each Sunday and
avoids controversy. His shy, cautious personality doesn't lend
itself to making political speeches.
In a perfect world, Farrakhan would rather play basketball than
talk about it, and the way he's handled himself as the grandson of
an international figure has impressed his father.
"I think he's developed the right way under the
circumstances," the father said. "Basketball-wise, he's focused
on that and stays away from politics, and that's good for him."
Farrakhan fits in among the 120 players at the Nike camp.
Besides Farrakhan and Jordan, there is:
• Mike Singletary, son of the Bears Hall of Fame linebacker and
leader of the 1985 Super Bowl team.
• Cory Higgins, son of former Bulls player Rod Higgins.
• Jerai Grant, son of former NBA player Harvey and nephew of
former Bulls player Horace.
"It's OK to not be the biggest Chicago celebrity here,"
Singletary said, smiling. "It's really not my thing anyway. I just
try to play my game."
Other famed connections in Indy include Jai Lucas, whose father,
John, was a former No. 1 draft pick; Michael Auriemma, son of the
Connecticut women's basketball coach who was elected to the
basketball Hall of Fame this year; and Ralph Sampson III, a
6-foot-10, 233-pound forward who carries the same name as his dad --
another former No. 1 pick.
With all of them here, they, like Farrakhan, are coping with
comparisons and questions about their childhood. The responses
While Grant appears to enjoy the attention, Singletary and
Sampson would rather avoid it.
Jordan, who walked into his first camp last year with a T-shirt
bearing his father's picture, has tried to become camp comedian. In
a bio distributed by the camp staff, Jordan lists his favorite
player as Chris Paul and his favorite team as the Cleveland
But he's also more confident in his approach to the media and
"I'm a lot more comfortable, and it's still fun," he said. "I
think the hype has kind of died down."
The questions are only beginning for Farrakahn, though.
The soon-to-be senior, who comes from the same Thornton Township
High School that produced athletes like Washington Redskins
receiver Antwaan Randle El, is grilled on how he got involved in
basketball and his family's passion for the game.
His father missed only one game this season, when he was on an
overseas trip. When his grandfather attends, the youngest Farrakhan
can always expect to get a little advice.
"He likes basketball, and he likes to watch me play,"
Farrakhan said. "He tells me to stay in position."
Some believe that if Farrakhan didn't prove himself on the
rough-and-tumble Chicago basketball circuit where he averaged 17.1
points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists, he's certainly succeeded this
summer as he competes against better players.
"The whole group of guys here is great," he said. "In
Chicago, you don't find everyone is this big, so it makes it more
challenging. That's why I'm here, I want to get better."
Among the schools that are interested are Wisconsin and Indiana
But he's letting his father handle most of the recruiting
"We've always taught that a good name is better than silver or
gold so anything you do as a service to your community or humanity
makes your name stronger," the father said. "You try not to do
anything that would damage your name. ... But people are human and
fallible so we hope and pray he will be best he can be."