The National Basketball Association (NBA), the top professional basketball league in the world, has produced some of the best athletes in history. However, a 19th-century religion known as Jehovah’s Witnesses has seen an increase in its adherents during the past several years.
We’ll also consider the contribution these players have made as ambassadors for their religion, both within and outside of basketball. In the late 19th century, Jehovah’s Witnesses, a Christian sect, was established in the United States.
The believers of this faith strongly emphasize preaching and spreading their message, and their doctrine is founded on the Bible. Their literature, which includes The Watchtower and Awake! publications are distributed door to door, and they are well renowned for their proselytizing.
History of Jahovah’s Witnesses
The origins of Jahovah’s Witnesses go back to that era. The genesis of the religion was the formation of a Bible study club in 1879 by Charles Taze Russell in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Jesus was the son and savior of one God, according to Jahovah’s Witnesses.
In addition, they think that this world will soon come to an end and that God’s dominion will come to exist on Earth. The religion engages in a number of customs, including door-to-door evangelism, baptism, exemption from military duty, and non-participation in political or athletic endeavors.
The Church’s connection with the outside world has always been tumultuous. They accept some parts of modern life, such as technology and science, but they reject others, like nationalism, secularism, consumerism, sports competition, and political engagement.
Because of this, they have come under fire from people who think they are too conservative or closed-minded. In spite of these criticisms, there are still lots of Jahovah’s Witnesses who play basketball and other professional sports.
Which NBA Players Turned Jehovah’s Witnesses?
Players connected to the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious movement have been in the NBA throughout its history. One athlete even decided to resign from basketball in order to put his health first. Three NBA players who are Jehovah’s Witnesses will have their tales examined in this article.
From 2009 until 2019, Darren Collison played in the NBA and enjoyed success. He played for a number of organizations, including the Sacramento Kings for three years and the Indiana Pacers for four, as well as the Dallas Mavericks, New Orleans Pelicans, and both Los Angeles franchises.
Collison made the important choice to leave the NBA in 2019 at the age of 31 and turn his attention to his faith. He had a successful season with the Pacers last year, averaging 11.2 points and 6 assists per game.
Collison later made a brief return to the NBA, though, after agreeing to a 10-day deal with the Los Angeles Lakers in December 2021. Unfortunately, his stint with the organization was brief; he only played in three games before the Lakers chose not to renew his contract.
Granger spent ten seasons in the NBA and was selected to the NBA All-Star team twice. He gained notoriety during his tenure with the Indiana Pacers when he played an important role for several seasons.
He was so good before the injuries!
HBD Danny Granger
NBA All-Star, Most Improved Player & Paul George's mentor in Indiana.pic.twitter.com/XDPYIDSfao
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) April 20, 2023
Granger made the announcement that he had become a Jehovah’s Witness in 2014. Despite the fact that Granger is no longer an NBA player, he is still involved in basketball thanks to his work as an NBA insider and analyst for several media sites.
With his amazing height of 7 feet, Dewayne Dedmon has distinguished himself as one of the NBA’s greatest role players. It’s amusing to consider that, had he listened to his mother, his basketball career would not have taken off. He declared his conversion to Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2016.
Dedmon has discussed in public how his faith has enabled him to successfully handle the difficulties in his personal and professional lives. Additionally, he has participated in community service projects and has promoted social justice causes using his position as an NBA player.
Although the Church has a contentious relationship with the outside world and its policies have drawn criticism in some quarters, these athletes have utilized their platform to advocate for their religion and have a lasting impact on basketball and other sports.
A few sportsmen who practice this religion include Dewayne Dedmon, Danny Granger, and Darren Collison. They have demonstrated by their efforts that it is possible to play successfully while upholding one’s moral principles.