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Outspoken Christian, NBA star, and Daily Wire author Jonathan Isaac launched “UNITUS” — his new sports apparel brand centered on faith, family, and freedom at a star-studded event in Orlando, Florida, on Saturday evening.
Brett Cooper, host of “The Comments Section” on The Daily Wire, was on hand for a “fireside chat” with the Orlando Magic forward, discussing why he felt called to create the new company.
“I do see this as something that is bigger than me. … And so for that, I have to give glory and honor to Jesus Christ,” Isaac told Cooper before asking his pastor, Durone Hepburn, to lead the audience in prayer.
Cooper asked Isaac how he came up with the idea for the company — and the name.
“The name UNITUS actually came from Dr. Hepburn,” Isaac said before explaining that in 2020, he was actually signed by Nike, but suffered an injury and was not re-signed to the brand. Hepburn encouraged him to start a sneaker company — which then “blossomed” into a brand to “give people the freedom to buy with their values.”
During the conversation, the Florida State University graduate also explained what “true greatness” — a cornerstone of UNITUS — means to him.
“True greatness is the embodiment and the striving toward the values that we want to see celebrated in our marketplace and culture,” he said. “It’s one thing to say we stand for these values. … It’s one thing to shout ‘faith, freedom, and family’ from the rooftops … but if we’re not walking the walk, and talking the talk, then what does it really mean?”
Isaac went on to explain that “true greatness” is not defined by what the world values.
“We know that true greatness is found in none other than Jesus Christ,” he explained, saying it’s not about “accolades.”
“So that is what makes us truly great, and so we can step into the world, as we are, with boldness and confidence, and say, ‘I am truly great. I don’t need to measure myself by world standards.’ And that is what UNITUS is about.”
Isaac, the author of “Why I Stand,” made headlines and inspired others in 2020 after refusing to partake in the Black Lives Matter protests that were sweeping the nation, the corporate boardroom, and America’s professional sports leagues. Isaac was the first NBA player not to kneel for the national anthem that season and cited his Christian faith as the key reason why.
“In a time where our country needs men and women willing to stand for freedom of thought, personal medical decisions, and biblical values, courage could not be more paramount,” Isaac said in January 2022 after his book deal with DW Books was announced. “In this book, I’m going to tell the story of why I chose to stand. I hope it inspires others to do the same.”
Now, the husband, father, and minister hopes to continue a similar mission with UNITUS.
“Standing for what you believe in is going to get harder,” UNITUS tweeted prior to the launch event. “But it’s also going to become more necessary. UNITUS helps you confidently wear your values without compromising style or performance.”
Standing for what you believe in is going to get harder. But it's also going to become more necessary. UNITUS helps you confidently wear your values without compromising style or performance.
— UNITUS (@weareunitus) July 27, 2023
On the company website, UNITUS makes clear that the purpose of this clothing is to bring people together — not stoke controversies that separate them.
“For too long, the sports and lifestyle apparel game has been dominated by companies with divisive agendas,” the website reads. “Greatness has been defined only by how you perform—apart from who you are and how you live. And cancel culture has the millions of people who hold traditional values wondering, ‘What if I’m the only one?'”
The company offers adult and youth clothing, but emphasizes that it’s about “more than cool clothes — UNITUS is a community of people rallied around faith, family, freedom, and the pursuit of true greatness.”
“Together, we rise above by working every day to be the best we can be, joyfully serving others with integrity, and standing for what’s right,” UNITUS said.
The launch night featured dozens of athletes and conservative stars, such as Riley Gaines — the former D1 NCAA swimmer who has spoken out against radical gender ideology after being forced to swim against a male athlete who identifies as a woman.
“People are looking to put their money elsewhere,” Gaines said on the red carpet. “We see the direction Nike is going, we see all these corporations such as Bud Light and Target and Tampax … we see what they’re doing and people are fed up, but we don’t feel like we don’t have an alternative — especially when it comes to athletic wear … and now we do.”
At one point, Isaac told the crowd that what he wants to do is build a “community of people who say not only are these the values that I stand for, but these are the values I’m striving towards getting better at; no matter what you look like — black, white, indifferent, money, no money — if you understand the necessity and value of these values, then UNITUS is for you.”
A recorded live stream of the event can be seen here.