In a new book out Tuesday, NBA star Jonathan Isaac opened up about how his faith gave him the strength to stand up against the mob on the topic of Black Lives Matter and COVID-19 vaccines.
The Orlando Magic power forward stood out when he became the first professional basketball player in the 2020 NBA bubble to remain standing during the playing of the national anthem, even when his teammates kneeled in support of BLM. He also insisted in a viral press conference that getting vaccinated was a personal decision. Now he’s sharing his story in “Why I Stand.”
In his book, Isaac reveals his personal journey from a child and teen who struggled with anxiety to a man who found God. He also shares his doubts along the way to his journey to faith, becoming a basketball star after being drafted in 2017 in the sixth pick at the NBA draft by the Magic, and how he’s realized his faith helped him stand for personal freedom in his story of courage through faith.
In a chapter called “Memories of a Rookie,” Isaac talked about the day a teammate asked him if he wanted to go to chapel, “seven words that would change the trajectory of my spiritual life, and with it, every aspect of life itself.” At one point the NBA star wrote about how his whole life he tried to be something more than he was and explained that:
Rejection told me I wasn’t enough, so basketball was my ticket to receiving everything I ever wanted. But I could never become who I was made to be if my mind and heart were clouded with fear and insecurity. If I could combat my fears and self-doubt with the truth of God’s word, I could be free. Not only in basketball, but in life. I was ready to work on this inner change. Turns out, so was God.
It is that belief in a higher power he said helped him again in 2021 not follow the crowd when he championed a person’s medical freedom against a barrage of demeaning questions from the press during his viral press conference over him not getting the COVID-19 vaccine. During that press event, Isaac was asked about the comments he’d made for a RollingStone article and if they were accurate.
The NBA star said the outlet had “misrepresented” him calling him an anti-vaxxer as he made clear it’s his belief “the vaccine status of every person should be their own choice and completely up to them without bullying, without being pressured or without being forced doing so.”
“Why I Stand” is available in hardcover May 17 from DW books here.