Videos by OutKick
Jonathan Isaac is an NBA player that doesn’t fit the mold of the ultra-woke league.
Isaac is the NBA’s most fearless player. He’s a man of faith first and a basketball player second who will speak his mind openly.
Isaac went the opposite direction when the rest of the NBA kneeled for the anthem and marketed COVID vaccine mandates.
The 25-year-old was a first-round selection, and his game is impressive.
Orlando Magic’s Jonathan Isaac Talks With OutKick
To get to where he is as a player and man, Jonathan Isaac continually leans on his faith in Jesus Christ, knowing it’ll help him cross any finish line.
People have been upset by Isaac’s courageous platform; he remains unbothered by the outrage.
Even in times of tribulation, Isaac manages to rack up wins. As a recently published author, new father, businessman and outspoken advocate for common sense, Isaac’s making strong impressions in his time off the court.
In an exclusive interview with OutKick, Jonathan Isaac discussed his unshakeable faith — which has fueled some of his “hot takes” in the NBA — and his journey back to basketball after dealing with injuries in recent years.
Few players have experienced the tribulations of a pro basketball career quite like Isaac, only to come out the other side enlightened by the challenges.
Isaac Talks New Brand, Perseverance, Importance of Faith
Isaac touched on his rehab back from devastating injuries, what it takes to be a firm believer in a society that pushes ideologies and how he’s grown in recent years as a new author, businessman and father.
We asked what expressing his faith meant to him and why few athletes take a stand for faith.
J.I.: To me, expressing my faith means being authentic to who I am in every aspect of my life, including basketball.
I love the game and everything it brought me, but it isn’t who I am or the most important thing in my life.
In today’s age, expressing faith in Christ outside of private venues can be seen as taboo or negative in some circles, which makes sharing publicly a fearful experience.
For me, knowing that many believers also feel that pressure makes me want to be an encouragement to them by publicly sharing when I feel the time calls for it.
Isaac has battled various serious injuries since 2020. After a brief 11-game stint last season, Isaac is feeling closer than ever to a return to basketball.
In a nearly three-year hiatus from basketball, Isaac’s managed to stay busy. His playing time has been limited since he suffered a severe left knee injury in 2020; suffered a torn ACL and meniscus that same year; hurt his hamstring in 2022; then suffered a torn left adductor muscle in 2023.
J.I.: The biggest challenge is always being patient while doing the same things day in and day out. Celebrating small progress is not easy when you’re eager to get back to playing as quickly as you can.
The wins are when you take the steps from walking to running to jumping, etc. Those take weeks individually, but you feel like you won something when you transition.
Also, personnel wins play a huge factor while rehabbing. Great blessings that help you stay positive and keep your mind on good things.
J.I. Is Fearless
During his time away from the court, Jonathan Isaac wrote and released his first book, “Why I Stand.”
The book proposes a complex question: Facing public criticism, peer hostility, and widespread disapproval, would you compromise your principles to blend in with the crowd, or would you stand for what you believe?
J.I.: I wrote a book, got married, and had a baby girl, all through my various rehab stints. I also spoke at various conferences, ministering to men and women on how to navigate trials in life while keeping faith in Christ.
Isaac’s platform off the court has been impressive, but his heart is still given to the game of basketball.
Since his sixth-overall selection in 2017, Isaac has played 147 regular-season games. He missed the entirety of the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons. Still apt as a rebounder and scorer at 6-foot-10, Isaac looks forward to overcoming the obstacle of injury.
Throughout his three seasons of play, Isaac has averaged 9.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game.
J.I.: I look forward to just being free on the court again. Playing the game that I love without limitation.
My teammates have always expressed respect for the way I’ve handled my trials with injuries and it always encourages me to keep going.
To combat the woke corporations that prey upon athletes, Isaac set out and released his own clothing line, titled “Unitus.”
Isaac saw the creation of Unitus as a promotion of free speech. He also used the new brand to promulgate the nation’s founding principles in a time of rampant woke ideologies.
J.I.: Starting Unitus was about taking pride in the values and ideals I hold dear. It just so happens that tons of people do as well, and I’ve found great passion in setting out to deliver a community-building platform through clothing.
In our free country, many corporations have decided to push ideologies that I believe are contrary to Christian beliefs and our country’s founding principles. With freedom in mind, creating a sportswear alternative that celebrates our values feels fair.
The “values-based alternative to sports” is set for release Aug. 2023.