NBA’s Jonathan Isaac Returns to Court After 2.5 Years, Says Faith Got Him Through

Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac stepped on the court to play his first game in over 900 days this week, attributing his faith to getting him where he is today.

  • NBA’s Jonathan Isaac returned to the court for the first time in nearly three years on Monday, saying it was his faith, family, and church that helped him navigate the difficult road.
  • Isaac said he felt “relief and peace” after completing Monday’s game.
  • “Like God, you got me. I appreciate it. He truly is faithful. I just want to thank Him. Because this night could have went so many ways,” he said. “For it to go the way it did, I appreciate Him for it. There is just a peace, there is a relief to it. Let’s keep going.”
  • On Sunday, Isaac’s friend and pastor Dr. Durone Hepburn announced the basketball player would be returning to the court the following day.
  • “He’ll be returning to the court tomorrow, completely healed,” the pastor said.

“It has been such a long road thinking about all that it has taken to get here,” Isaac said Monday. “The tough days, the good days, the bad days, the ups and downs. All the people who were part of getting me back. My family, my church family, my faith that I have been able and fortunate enough to lean on this entire time. I wouldn’t be here. The adrenaline and everything that’s going on. Trying my best to stay grounded and grateful. Just trying to bottle all that up in one moment. It was surreal.”

  • Isaac garnered widespread attention and scrutiny in 2020 when he chose to stand for the national anthem before games, even as every other member of his team knelt while wearing Black Lives Matter T-shirts.
  • For Isaac, an outspoken Christian, to kneel would have been to throw support behind a movement that could not ultimately heal the nation’s growing racial divide, or any other fundamental human problem, for that matter.
  • “Around that time, my pastor had preached a message,” Isaac said. “The message was about when Jesus was about to be taken by the Roman Guard, and Peter lunged forward and chopped off the man’s ear, and Jesus stopped him, and he said, ‘Those that live by the sword, will die by the sword.’ And, ultimately that Jesus had a greater plan.”
  • “So, I decided to stand,” he went on to say, “It wasn’t entirely about the flag. It was just that moment of saying, ‘I believe that the love of Jesus Christ is what is ultimately going to heal this world because it is what has healed me.'”
  • Isaac, who has perturbed many on the left over his refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine, also articulated how his faith in Jesus freed him to stand firm in the face of cultural pressure.
  • A summary of his book, Why I Stand, describes the novel as the telling of Isaac’s “discovery that no matter your level of confidence today, God’s strength will develop in your weakness” and “that courage is found in trusting that God is greater than your fears.”