Abur-Rahim’s dream team comes to Selma

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 21, 2004

Representatives of former All-Star pro basketball player Shareef Abdur-Rahim came

to Selma Thursday to discuss an alliance with Four Rivers Global Leadership Association.

Specifically, they came to talk about

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a joint initiative that would support Four Rivers’ community development mission in the Black Belt with the resources of Abdur-Rahim’s for-profit and non-profit enterprises.

Abdur-Rahim, who plays for the Portland Trailblazers, was also named to the NBA’s All-Rookie First Team in 1996 and in 1996 earned a gold medal as part of the 2000 Olympic Men’s Basketball “Dream Team.”

During the day, the three-person Atlanta delegation visited WHBB Radio Station, the Selma-Dallas County

Public Library, and several school and county officials, along with the Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Authority and several others.

State Rep. Yusef Salaam, organizer of Four Rivers, is a strong supporter of establishing new businesses and strengthening existing ones as a primary means of strengthening individuals, families and communities.

And that’s exactly the strategy involved in Abdur-Rahim’s efforts.

Salaam foresees an ongoing relationship that will enable Four Rivers to help Selma, Dallas County and the Black Belt to make a great leap forward.

“The purpose of today’s activities is to re-establish a vital tie between Atlanta and Selma to get ready to move forward. The last time significant things happened in Selma there was a tie between the good forces of human life in Selma and Atlanta. This is a global world. No community is an island unto itself or stands alone. All must come together to advocate the cause of human good. This group (Abdur-Rahim’s) brings substantial resources – financial and knowledge – to the collective improvement table. We are not dealing with a fly-by-night

carnival show. These are producers. I foresee a vital, collaborative tie of substance that will have a major impact on the quality of life in Selma and the Black Belt. These are entrepreneurs of the utmost magnitude.”

“We will focus, of course, on the non-profit component also,” he said. “We will be dealing with complete human life. We need to take advantage of both the for-profit and non-profit (resources) of this group. The next step will be analysis and evaluation.”

A.Mustafa Ali, senior project consultant of Let Us Do Good Works, the non-profit arm of Rahim’s organization, has been with the program since its founding four years ago. He said that in Atlanta the Let Us Do Good Works has focused on housing projects and business development, while providing some assistance to charities and schools.

“My job,” Ali said, “is to assist with assessment, strategic planning and project development.”

Imam William Abdur-Rahim, chair of Let Us Do Good Works since its founding four years ago, sees both for-profit and non-profit initiatives of his son’s organization as building up family life. “When my son began to gather resources as a professional basketball player, he decided he wanted to maximize those resources through two tools – the for-profit and non-profit. We are working with a number of other groups in Atlanta who are working on community development through the same approach. Also, as we speak, my son is talking with other professional athletes in Atlanta about their joining his efforts. To my knowledge, this is the first collective effort of professional athletes in the community development area. We are also beginning to expand our efforts beyond Atlanta.”

Rhea Young, director of operations of the for-profit entity, Abdur-Rahim Enterprises, said “We’re here to assist Selma in the good works they are doing.”