Basketball Player Represents Children Of Divorce

by | Mar 28, 2016 | Divorce In The News, Families & Children

Divorce can be a trying time within families. Relationships often become strained between parents and their children. However, by finding a bond with a child, some marital tension can be avoided. This is of particular concern for someone who was abandoned by their own parent, like Duwad Abdur-Rahkman. However, he was able to maintain a bond with his son through basketball. Now his son is 21 years old and is quickly becoming a household name for Michigan sports fans. 

What’s In A Name? A Father’s Journey

Duwad Abdur-Rahkman named his son Muhammad-Ali for a reason. As a young boy, Abdur-Rahkman looked up to the famous boxer. His father had been the grandson of sharecroppers in Georgia. In 1964 Duwad’s father brought his family to Pennsylvania to get a job as a truck driver. After taking the job he abandoned Abdur-Rahkman and his mother, leaving them to fend for themselves.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Ali (née Cassius Clay) was steadily rising to fame as a boxer. Without a father around, Abdur-Rahkman looked up to Clay as a role model. He says he chose to name his son after the famous boxer because when his son was born, “All I saw was greatness.”

Growing Up Basketball

Duwad says that his son, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman (known by fans as MAAR), has been around basketball since he was a baby. He used to put MAAR in an infant carrier to watch him while he coached. His father later became MAAR’s coach for? the highly regarded D.C. Assault. During this time, Duwad and his wife were going through a divorce. As their family unit fell apart, basketball stayed consistent between MAAR and his dad.

Early Attention

MAAR continued playing basketball after his family left D.C. He was an instant favorite on his high school team when he transferred to Allentown Central Catholic. He even skipped the JV team to play as a starter during his first year there. The school was in a town that paid a lot of attention to high school sports. MLive even said that, “Central Catholic games drew never-before-seen crowds during [MAAR’s] final season.”

Coming To Michigan

Based on this attention, MAAR got a scholarship offer from the University of Michigan. He moved to Ann Arbor where he still plays basketball, this time for bigger crowds. His father is currently an assistant basketball coach at Muhlenberg College in Allentown. Although he can’t see as many games in person, Duwad Abdur-Rahkman can now watch his son on TV.

MAAR’s Influence

MAAR’s name is a topic that often surrounds him. His coach, John Beilein, says that MAAR scores points using his “Ali shuffle.” One journalist even said, “That’s a name you can take a ride with.” However, his talent on the court is what got his name out into the public.

Like Ali, MAAR could easily become a role model for young children. Through televised games his influence isn’t limited to Ann Arbor. He could easily reach West Michigan’s youth in cities like Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. To a wider audience, MAAR could come to represent all of Michigan. As the nation turns its attention toward March Madness, basketball players represent more than just the sport; they also represent their schools and their families. A player like MAAR has the potential to represent all of those things along with children of divorce.


Quin, B.F. (2016, Mar. 8). The Meaning Of Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, More Than Just A Name. MLive. Retrieved on Mar. 21, 2016, from

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