The National Basketball Association (NBA) is prominent among basketball leagues worldwide. Players are often from different backgrounds, cultures, careers, religions, and denominations, of which Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW) are one.
Of course, it shouldn’t be worth mentioning that a religious sect has players in a professional sporting league if not for the peculiarity of their faith.
The Christian denomination has strong reservations about sporting activities involving ruthless body contacts and competitive endeavors in general. They also do not approve medical interventions like blood transfusions and religious holidays. With an umbrella and a fitting handbag in their hands, you can almost identify a JW from afar. Their evangelistic inclination is one thing you cannot take away from them.
The NBA has present and past players who belong to this religious family. While many have chosen to be vocal about their beliefs, many are treading silence. After all, religion is supposed to be a private matter.
Regardless of faith, people bet on sports. A 2023 Gallup Survey reveals that 69% of Americans believe there is nothing wrong with sports betting. Of this number, at least 60% are religious people. Only 36% of Christians see gambling as a moral issue based on Lifeway Research findings.
Consequently, many religious NBA players and fans stake their bets on their favorite team and players. Because of their passion for basketball and the fun of betting, Filipinos scout the internet in their millions for the Best NBA websites from Mightytips in the Philippines. Resting on the untainted reputation of the multinational bookmakers’ reviewer, Filipinos believe MightyTips’ recommendations are key to their betting endeavors.
That said, how many ex-NBA players are Jehovah’s Witnesses? Let’s answer this question.
Ex-NBA Players Who Are Jehovah’s Witnesses
Indiana Pacers picked Danny Granger in 2005’s NBA draft with the 17th overall pick, and he spent most of his professional playing time with this team. He also played for the Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat and retired in 2015 after ten years of navigating various NBA courts.
Besides basketball, Danny Granger is a philanthropist par excellence who impacted Haiti tremendously. Danny also advocates for mental health alongside his philanthropic efforts.
His Jehovah’s Witnesses’ faith started in his childhood, as he grew up with a JW family, spending most of his time with them in their Kingdom Hall. Danny regularly speaks of his beliefs as the catalyst that propelled him professionally.
Because of his mother’s strict stance on competitive sports, Dewayne Dedmon could not start playing professional basketball until he entered high school and became a senior. When he finally became an NBA player, he plied his trade with several clubs, including Miami Heat, Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings, and others.
As many ex-NBA players who are Jehovah’s Witnesses often claim, Dewayne Dedmon also affirms that his religion played a significant role in helping him navigate the initial challenges associated with playing basketball.
For ten years, Darren Collison functioned as a point guard for many NBA clubs, such as Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings, and others. In 2019, when he was 31 years old, he stepped down from the game, opting to be with his family.
The decision to quit professional basketball at that age was due to his religious beliefs, as he later revealed in interviews and news releases after his retirement. Darren Collison’s father and mother are Jehovah’s Witnesses, which explains how he became one.
Call him a legend, and you won’t be wrong. A.C. Green mesmerized fans with his toughness while playing on different courts and persisted in his career for sixteen years. The clubs he played for include the Los Angeles Lakers, Mavericks, and Suns.
Green was part of the Lakers teams that won three NBA titles in the 80’s and 90’s. The athlete decided to become a Jehovah’s Witness in the mid-80s when the Christian faith took the world by storm. Using his celebrity status, this ex-NBA player missed no opportunity to talk about his faith.
Born in Germany, Detlef Schrempf was another NBA legend who played in the league for sixteen years. He also represented the German national team in basketball competitions, while Indiana Pacers, Portland Trail Blazers, and Seattle SuperSonics were the NBA teams the athlete represented while active on courts. Detlef joined the JW’s faith in the mid-90s and has been active.
Respected for his incredible passing and court vision skills, Mark Jackson enjoyed most of his professional basketball career with the Golden State Warriors, the New York Knicks, and the Indiana Pacers. Mark became a Christian in the 90’s, and he was among the team that helped the Warriors win their NBA title in forty years. He later became a coach and recently converted to the JW’s faith.
Originally named Chris Jackson, this athlete changed his name to Rauf when he embraced Islam. From Islam, he found and embraced JW and has never wavered since accepting the new faith. Mahmoud was fans’ favorite owing to his unique shooting skills, and for six years, he played for the Denver Nuggets.
Other ex-NBA players who are Jehovah’s Witnesses include:
- Michael Adams
- Wayman Tisdale
- Reggie Theus
- Antoine Carr
- Thur Bailey
- Jim McIlvaine
- Kevin Porter
- Pelvis Ellison
- Greg Foster
So, how many ex-NBA players are Jehovah’s Witnesses? By this list, the answer is fifteen. Others might not have been vocal about their faiths, but these fifteen, who have played at one time or the other for an NBA team, have not hidden their religious convictions.
Current NBA Players Who Are Jehovah’s Witnesses
Religion is personal, and many professional sports organizations will not make this a selling point for any of their players. An NBA player who is a Jehovah’s Witness may not come open with it, not out of fear, but because it isn’t part of the game to showcase it.
Save for ex-NBA stars highlighted above, it’s challenging to tell an NBA player who is a Jehovah’s Witness from one who is not.