Often, a star athlete makes the news when implicated in a killing, shooting, DUI or spousal abuse.
And these are supposed to be our role models?
It’s always a joy to single out athletes, our role models, as strong men and women of faith.
This week, let’s look at 10 NBA athletes who don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk and evangelize the Gospel of Christ in their everyday lives.
They put God No. 1 in their lives, and they let you know it.
Here are 10 NBA stars who put Jesus Christ first.
1. Stephen Curry: The Golden State Warriors superstar and two-time MVP point guard is an outspoken Christian who wears Scripture on his playing shoes that say, “I can do all things,” referring to Philippians 4:13 (“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”).
“Each game is an opportunity to be on a great stage and be a witness for Christ. When I step on the floor, people should know who I represent, who I believe in,” he said.
Curry wrote that he loves to point people toward “the Man who died for our sins on the cross. I know I have a place in Heaven waiting for me because of Him, and that’s something no earthly prize or trophy could ever top.”
It is normal for the Warriors to have a 30-minute Bible study every game day that includes most of the team.
I love it when Curry says, “There’s more to me than just this jersey I wear, and that’s Christ living inside of me.”
That is powerful testimony.
2. Lebron James: You can debate how “strong” a Christian the best player in basketball is, but you have to take notice when the Cleveland Cavaliers all-time everything leader says in a taped post-game interview that “You can’t bank on anyone … only one guy in the world where everything will be alright when He comes back, and that’s Jesus Christ.”
3. Derek Fisher:The former Los Angeles Lakers star guard and five-time NBA champion is quoted as saying, “I just totally put everything on my faith in God. If I concentrate on something and work hard at it, something good will come out of it.”
In an interview with the 700 Club, Fisher says, “God blessed me with an ability to play this game very well. So then, in response to that, to show Him that I appreciate that blessing, I’m supposed to try to be the best at playing the game of basketball. I know all of it is because of Him. There’s no question about it. The source of my power and strength is God, and I know it, without a shadow of a doubt.”
Watch this powerful 4-minute video on Derek Fisher talking about what really matters in life.
Now that’s a role model. You can read about Derek and his faith in his book, “Character Driven.”
- A.C. Green: He owns the NBA Iron Man title, having played 1,192 straight games. The three-time NBA champion with the L.A. Lakers is long retired, but still active as a man of faith who speaks about Christ as a community leader. He works with youth through his A.C. Green Youth Foundation. In his book, “Victory: The Principles of Championship Living,” Green said, “God expects us to reproduce in others what we have learned.”
- Kevin Durant: The 2014 MPV and four-time scoring champion plays alongside Stephen Curry on the Golden State Warriors. When they won the NBA championship, they said it is God who gets the glory. Durant said the Bible pumps him up and balances him to play his best. “The Bible says the Lord exalts humility and that’s one thing I try to be all the time. Humility comes before honor.”
- Michael Redd: The …. With the Phoenix Suns says when he plays basketball his goal is to show who Christ really is. “That’s my goal. It’s great to win a championship, but I think the ultimate success is if someone says, ‘What must I do to be saved?’ … I give God all the praise.”
- Dwyane Wade: The former Miami Heat basketball superstar and NBA champ plays alongside Lebron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The point guard is a devout Christian and, when he was with Miami, chose to wear the number “3” in honor of the Holy Trinity. His mother is an ordained Baptist minister and Wade bought a building for her church. He said, “I’m a firm believer in the Bible. I believe everything in there. I’m given so much, so giving 10 percent back to God is nothing to me. That’s why I do it, and I don’t think twice about it.”
- Dwight Howard: The Charlotte Hornets center and former Lakers star is vocal about his faith in Jesus. Living as a Christian, he said “It’s not easy but that’s why we have God’s word, and He forgives us when we do something we shouldn’t be doing. You know, God sent His son to die for us and He paid that sacrifice so you can go to heaven.”
- Chris Paul: The onetime L.A. Clippers point guard now plays for the Houston Rockets. When he reached a low point with an affair and a trade to another team, he publicly announced his repentance and turned to God in prayer. On Sundays, if he isn’t playing, he’s in church.
- Jeremy Lin: The Brooklyn Nets point guard was so good at shooting a basketball, the applause and notoriety he garnered was referred to as “Linsanity.” He has had a rocky road in his NBA career, but will tell anyone who listens that God has a plan for his life. “I’m just thankful to God for everything,” Lin said. “Like the Bible says, God works in all things for the good of those who love Him,” referring to Romans 8:28.
The list doesn’t end here.
This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive list as there are many other athletes of valor. But those mentioned here are great examples of how God lifts up those who have a heart for Him and run after Him.
“I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” (Proverbs 8:17)
IN CASE YOU MISSED OUR OTHER ARTICLES ON CHRISTIAN ATHLETES:
In Part 1, we looked at a sample of Christian athletes in a wide variety of sports. CLICK HERE to read the story in case you missed it.
In Part 2, we introduced readers to many Christian baseball players who aren’t afraid to walk the talk. CLICK HERE to read the story in case you missed it.
In Part 3, we put the spotlight on 25 current and retired members of the National Football League who stand their ground for Christ. CLICK HERE to read Part 3 in case you missed it.
What do you think? Write me at [email protected]