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NBA forward Jonathan Isaac refused to give in to the pressure to bend his knee during the national anthem in 2020. He stood alone.

Isaac stood his ground and refused to buckle to the pressure. 

The 6 foot 10 inch forward for the Orlando Magic later made the decision to not vaccinate, another decision that caused controversy amidst the NBA.

And again, he refused to conform to the pressure to wear a Black Lives Matter t-shirt as if that were the only way to communicate his love for people. “I rejected the notion that kneeling during the national anthem and wearing a t-shirt is the only way to support black lives.” Isaac explained on a recent podcast with Sean Feucht.

For Isaac, he knows where true change comes from – it comes from the heart through a relationship with Christ. 

“My life has been supported by the gospel, and I’ve been able to support and help change other people’s lives that looked like me through the gospel.”

He continued, “I believe that the love of Jesus is the thing that is going to change the world as it’s changed me. To the best of my ability and by the grace of God I want to humbly walk out my Christianity,” shared Isaac to Feucht. 

Part of walking out his Christianity is taking a stand where he needs to be taken according to Sean Feucht and Issac who both are in process of publishing books on Why I Stand by Jonathan Isaac and Feucht’s new book Bold, Moving Forward In Faith Not Fear. 

“God, throughout my journey and life, he has given me small moments of having to preach, small moments to help a teammate and it’s grown my faith. I am willing to step out when others may not be willing to step out and be able to be a voice. In time I hope they do have the courage to stand for their beliefs. “

Isaac shared that so many people have reached out and expressed their support for his boldness and stand. The way our culture is headed, more and more Christians are going to need to take a stand. 

“The times in which standing as the world becomes darker is becoming more and more necessary. You’re going to have to make a decision in that moment and who you are for, who it is that you believe in. You’re going to have to declare Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior.”

At the same time, though Isaac reminded listeners, it’s still about love. 

“It’s time for Christians to get more bold, but also to see the heart of God. I believe God loves everybody and God is trying to win everybody. Yes we stand for truth, yes we stand for our convictions, but we have to learn that we were loved by God in order to be saved and so we have to do some loving and love is an action word.” 

In the end, for this NBA player, it’s all about the message and heart of Christ, that’s the higher purpose of his life, despite the fame and influence he holds in the NBA. 

“I just want people to see the message of Christ, the heart of Christ.

After he retires from the NBA, Isaac didn’t rule out a possible pastorate position at his church. 


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THRiVE! covers good news, inspiring stories, and faith at work.

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