Magic's Isaac cites Christian faith as reason for standing during anthem

Sam Amico

Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac became the first player inside the NBA bubble to stand for the national anthem, opting to pray instead of kneel.

Isaac was asked after the Magic's 128-118 win over the Brooklyn Nets if he believes black lives matter.

"Absolutely," Isaac said. "A lot went into my decision and part of it is my thought that kneeling or wearing a black lives matter t-shirt don’t go hand in hand with supporting black lives.”

He continued, “My life has been supported by the gospel of Jesus Christ,. Everyone is made in the image of God and we all share in His glory. Each and everyone of us each and every day do things we shouldn’t do. We say things we shouldn’t say. We hate and dislike people that we shouldn’t hate and dislike. And sometimes it gets to the point where we point fingers about whose evil is worse, and sometimes it comes down to simply whose evil is most visible. 

"I felt like I wanted just take a stand on — I felt like we all make mistakes but I think the gospel of Jesus Christ is that there’s grace for us. And that Jesus came and died for our sins. And that we all will come to an understanding of that and that God wants to have a relationship with us.”

Isaac is an ordained minister, and as noted by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press, donated money to help feed kids after schools closed because of the coronavirus. He also led a drive to support those impacted by Hurricane Dorian.

"I think, when you look around, racism isn't the only thing that plagues our society," the third-year forward said. "Everything that plagues us as a society, I feel the answer to it is the gospel."

Isaac, 22, is 6-foot-11 and averaging 12.0 points and 6.9 rebounds for the Magic, who now lead the Nets by a half game for seventh place in the Eastern Conference. Isaac gave a particularly strong performance off the bench, finishing with 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting with six boards.

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