Summer 2024

Mavericks' P.J. Washington trusts in God ahead of NBA Finals: 'He's done so much for me'

The NBA Finals between the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics will begin on Thursday, and fans are brimming with anticipation at what many pundits believe will be a lengthy and competitive series.

Storylines abound with Kyrie Irving’s return to Boston, Kristaps Porzingis’ return to Dallas and two of the NBA’s best young talents — Jayson Tatum and Luka Doncic — squaring off for a title. Yet what may ultimately decide the series is the performance of each team’s lesser-known players surrounding those superstars.

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Dallas’ starting power forward P.J. Washington is just such a name to keep an eye on. He, along with starting center Daniel Gafford, joined the Mavericks at the trade deadline on Feb. 8. Washington was traded from the Charlotte Hornets while Gafford was sent over by the Washington Wizards.

Dallas’ trade-deadline maneuvers have paid off handsomely. The Mavericks won 21 of Washington’s 29 regular-season games with the team, and Washington averaged 11.7 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.

The playoffs have seen an uptick in his production; Washington has averaged 13.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game while shooting better overall (43.2%) and from the 3-point line (36.3%).

As the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference, Dallas has had to go on the road in three consecutive playoff series, knocking off three consecutive 50-win teams (Clippers, Thunder, Timberwolves) without even reaching a seventh game. Now, the Mavericks will seek to do it one more time against the Celtics (league-best 64 wins) to capture the franchise’s second-ever NBA title and first since 2011.

This 2024 run is Washington’s first-ever trip to the playoffs, and the 25-year-old greater Dallas-area native couldn’t be happier to be experiencing it with his hometown team.

“Just the way the city embraces me,” Washington said in a press conference on May 26. “Everybody’s supportive. Everybody’s there for me each and every game. … It’s just been all love since I got here, so I’d give anything for this team and this organization, and it’s just great to have that same energy from the fans as well.”

Washington’s clutch play on such a stage as the NBA playoffs has also given him a platform to discuss what’s most important to him. Two weeks ago, he was asked about his faith in God, which he has mentioned on his Instagram account and his X account.

“It’s the reason I’m here,” Washington said during a media session. “He’s done so much for me, and I’m just thankful and forever grateful. I feel like the closer I get to Him, things just start getting a lot better for me.”


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Washington’s faith in God is so important to him that he’s even decided to get a couple of faith-based tattoos. On the left side of his chest, Washington has a tattoo depicting Jesus with a cross behind Him, while on the right side is the Bible verse Proverbs 3:5-6, which reads, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Washington has sought throughout his NBA career to trust in the Lord and submit to Him, knowing he serves a God who desires glory for Himself and ultimate good for His people. Now, as Washington prepares for the brightest lights in the sport at the NBA Finals, with the basketball world watching, he is seeking to honor God and thank Him for His goodness.

Game 1 of the NBA Finals is set for Thursday at 8:30 p.m. ET in Boston.

>> Do you know Christ personally? Learn how you can commit your life to Him. <<

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