How Many Ex NBA Players Are Jehovah’s Witnesses?

Jimmy Remland
By Jimmy Remland 6 Min Read
6 Min Read

In the vast and illustrious world of professional basketball, where fame, fortune, and athletic prowess collide, there exists a lesser-known intersection: NBA players who are also devout Jehovah’s Witnesses. These athletes, despite their high-flying dunks and clutch three-pointers, have quietly embraced their faith, often away from the spotlight. In this article, we discuss about the intriguing realm of ex-NBA players who have chosen to follow the teachings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The Faithful Few

1. Danny Granger

  • Background: Danny Granger, a former small forward for the Indiana Pacers, made a name for himself as a versatile scorer and tenacious defender. His career spanned from 2005 to 2015.
  • Witness Status: Granger’s journey led him to embrace the Jehovah’s Witness faith. His commitment to his beliefs remained steadfast even during his NBA career.
  • Impact: Granger’s decision to adhere to his faith while playing in the NBA is commendable. It highlights the delicate balance between professional sports and personal convictions.

2. Dewayne Dedmon

  • Background: Dewayne Dedmon, a center who has played for several NBA teams, including the Miami Heat, has quietly maintained his faith as a Jehovah’s Witness.
  • Witness Status: Dedmon’s commitment extends beyond the court. Despite the glitz and glamour of professional basketball, he remains grounded in his beliefs.
  • Impact: Dedmon’s story serves as a reminder that spirituality need not yield to the pressures of fame and fortune. His quiet strength exemplifies resilience.

3. Darren Collison

  • Background: Darren Collison, a point guard who played for the Indiana Pacers, among other teams, also found solace in the teachings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
  • Witness Status: Collison’s decision to embrace his faith while competing at the highest level demonstrates unwavering conviction.
  • Impact: Collison’s example challenges the stereotype that professional athletes must conform to societal norms. His faith journey is a testament to inner strength.

The Anecdotal Evidence

Comedian Brittany Schmitt’s stand-up routine shed light on this intriguing topic. Although she never explicitly named the ex-NBA player she dated, her anecdotes hinted at Danny Granger. Schmitt’s husband encouraged her to Google how many ex-NBA players were Jehovah’s Witnesses, leading her to discover the trio mentioned above. However, whether this information is entirely accurate or merely part of her comedic storytelling remains a mystery.

The Bigger Picture

While these three players represent the known ex-NBA Jehovah’s Witnesses, it’s essential to recognize that the National Basketball Association has seen a total of 14 ex-players who adhered to this faith over the years. Their stories, though often overshadowed by on-court heroics, provide a glimpse into the intricacies of balancing professional careers with deeply held beliefs.

Challenges Faced by Ex-NBA Players

  1. Scheduling Conflicts:
    • NBA players have grueling schedules, with frequent games, practices, and travel. Balancing these commitments with religious obligations can be daunting.
    • Jehovah’s Witnesses prioritize attending meetings, door-to-door ministry, and Bible study. Imagine fitting these activities into a packed NBA calendar.
  2. Social Pressures:
    • Professional sports often come with societal expectations. Athletes are seen as role models, and their behavior is scrutinized.
    • For ex-NBA players who are Jehovah’s Witnesses, resisting peer pressure (such as lavish parties, materialism, or compromising beliefs) requires immense strength.
  3. Medical Decisions:
    • Jehovah’s Witnesses adhere to a strict interpretation of the Bible, which includes refusing blood transfusions.
    • Injuries are common in basketball, and players may face critical medical situations. Balancing faith and health becomes a delicate dance.
  4. Isolation:
    • Being a Jehovah’s Witness in the NBA can be isolating. The lifestyle choices—no celebrating birthdays, no military service, and limited socializing—set them apart.
    • Finding camaraderie within the team while maintaining their faith can be challenging.

Impact on Careers

  1. Performance and Priorities:
    • Ex-NBA players who remain steadfast in their faith often prioritize spiritual well-being over career achievements.
    • Their commitment may affect playing time, endorsements, and team dynamics.
  2. Legacy and Influence:
    • These athletes leave a unique legacy. Their impact extends beyond points scored or championships won.
    • By openly living their faith, they inspire others to stay true to their beliefs, even in high-pressure environments.
  3. Resilience and Inner Strength:
    • The ability to withstand external pressures and remain true to one’s convictions demonstrates remarkable resilience.
    • Their stories resonate with fans and fellow believers alike.

Broader Implications

  1. Sports and Spirituality:
    • The intersection of sports and faith is rich and complex. Ex-NBA players serve as ambassadors for a different kind of victory—one that transcends scoreboards.
    • Their presence challenges the stereotype that professional athletes must conform to secular norms.
  2. Humanizing Athletes:
    • We often idolize athletes, forgetting that they grapple with personal struggles, doubts, and choices.
    • The ex-NBA players who chose faith over fame remind us of their humanity.
  3. Inspiration for Others:
    • Their stories encourage fans to embrace their own convictions, regardless of their field.
    • Whether you’re on the court or in an office, staying true to your beliefs matters.

In conclusion, the ex-NBA players who are Jehovah’s Witnesses exemplify courage, resilience, and unwavering faith. Their journey transcends basketball courts, touching hearts and minds beyond the arena.

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