It’s a known fact that there is an existence of several religions in the world; as such, every occupant on the face of the earth is expected to have their respective religions.
Meanwhile, due to the glamour and fame that’s showered on sports superstars, lovers and followers of these sportsmen and women tend to be oblivious of the fact that there’s a place for religion even in the sporting space.
For example, in 2020, when Orlando Magic’s forward (Jonathan Isaac) refused to kneel for the national anthem or wear a Black Lives Matter T-shirt over his jersey during an NBA seeding match against Brooklyn Nets, he was thrown into the global spotlight.
He became popular afterwards, stating that kneeling or putting on a T-shirt isn’t the answer. His words: “I don’t think that kneeling or putting on a T-shirt for me, personally, is the answer, I feel like for me black lives are supported through the Gospel. All lives are supported through the Gospel.”
As expected, criticisms followed his stance in the match against Brooklyn Nets and the interview he granted after the match, but majority members of the NBA fraternity applauded and stood with the American. But little did Isaac know that he had set an example worthy of emulation through his faith.
NBA Stars And Their Religions
Hakeem Olajuwon – Retired (Muslim)
Retired Nigerian-American NBA legend was a famous undisciplined trash-talker in his days as a player. He had numerous brawls with players and officials as well as picking up several fouls in his colorful 18 year career.
But later in his career, The 12-time NBA All-Star developed a strong interest in spirituality and became a devoted Muslim. Olajuwon changed the spelling of his name from Akeem to the more conventional spelling of Hakeem, saying that he corrected it.
Stephen Curry – Golden State Warriors (Christian)
Probably “Chef” is the most outspoken and grounded believer of Christ in this list. There have been instances where Curry would point to Christ in heaven when granting interviews and also does it when on the basketball court.
Curry once stated that “Each game is an opportunity to be on a great stage and be a witness for Christ. When I step on the floor, people should know who I represent, who I believe in.”
The 33 year old who shares the word of God with his teammates revealed that he points to God to remind himself that he plays for him and that he hits his chest to represent that his heart belongs to God.
Kenneth Faried – Zhejiang Lions (Muslim)
Faried’s father was a Muslim, while his mom was a Christian when he was born, and this gave him the chance to learn the doctrines of both religion from cradle.
At 8, the former Denver Nuggets, Brooklyn Nets and Houston Rockets man fell in an immeasurable love with the Hold Quran which according to him taught him to ‘live right, healthy and smart to give praise to Almighty Allah.’
Lebron James – Los Angeles Lakers (Christian)
Here comes one of the greatest players in the ‘Slam N Dunk’ game, Lebron Raymone James. He grew up learning the Holy Bible which helped his Christian faith tremendously. Lebron
And after he grew up, Lebron has over time emphasized and showcased his belief and faith in serving the Lord Jesus Christ on the court, in interviews and on social media.
Kevin Durant – Brooklyn Nets (Christian)
Durant is a steadfast and humble ardent believer of Jesus Christ. “The Bible both pumps me up and balances me to play my best,”
He grew up in a Christian home, raised by a single mom but could not attend church regularly in middle and high school.
On getting to Oklahoma City Thunder, he became friends with Kevin Ollie who encouraged him to attend chapel services and not to be afraid or ashamed of his faith in the Lord. Duran since then never looked back in his faith; he now preaches the Gospel with almost everyone he comes across