Jonathan Isaac and his Orlando Magic are 22-19 and eighth in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. Yet despite being squarely in a battle for playoff positioning that will only intensify with each passing game, he has found time to give back to his community and shine the light of Christ.
Last week, Isaac donated a pair of his signature shoes, the Judah 1’s, to each player and coach on the boys’ varsity basketball team at the Regents School of Austin (a K-12 classical Christian school in Texas). The Judah 1’s are the first signature shoes from an athlete to feature a Bible verse, which varies from colorway to colorway.
Isaac donated the Ruach (“spirit” in Hebrew) colorway shoes with the Bible verse John 14:26, which says, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
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“Jonathan Isaac is my role model,” Regents team captain Paul Fedd shared with Sports Spectrum. “I love being able to wear a shoe with a Bible verse on it and show that my life is more than basketball.”
Regents head coach Sam Burmeister also expressed his thanks: “As a team we are extremely grateful to Jonathan Isaac for donating his new shoe to us. It means a lot that we are the first high school team to wear them. Our mission at Regents is to redeem sports for Christ. Wearing these shoes gives us the opportunity to show God to other players, coaches and fans.”
The Regents team was inspired by Isaac’s new shoe line and clothing brand UNITUS, which launched in August 2023 and “brings people together around stylish, high-quality apparel that champions faith, family and freedom.” Isaac says wearing apparel from UNITUS allows people young and old to express their Christian faith while pursuing their athletic passions.
“Being able to take the Word on the court with the Judah 1 this season has been a truly empowering experience,” Isaac said. “Seeing young athletes excited about doing the same takes it to a whole new level. I’m honored to be a part of providing our kids the ability to express their faith on and off the court.”
Isaac has proudly donned the Judah 1’s in his games with the Magic this season, making 24 appearances off the bench and averaging 6.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 13.6 minutes played. The 26-year-old forward has been limited by a series of injuries in his seven-year NBA career, including two consecutive seasons missed due to a severe ACL injury.
Still, none of it has prevented Isaac from being one of the most outspoken followers of Christ in the league ever since his rookie season. He even wrote a faith-based book, “Why I Stand,” while recovering from his ACL injury.
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The motto for Isaac’s UNITUS is “true greatness,” which he spoke about at the launch event. “We know that true greatness is found in none other than Jesus Christ,” Isaac said. “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 worldly standards.’”
He continued later: “I do see this as something that is bigger than me, bigger than all of us, and so for that I have to give glory and honor to Jesus Christ for who I am today and how this journey of following Him has blossomed into what we see today.”
“I was living my NBA life doing my own thing,” he said. “God came and found me. Why? Because He loves me, and He desires to be in a relationship with me, to make me better. So, I want people to gravitate towards finding out what a relationship with Christ is like and really diving into it.”
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