- (Photo: Reuters/Mike Stone)
Although there is no Internet meme representing prayer in the NBA like the one sparked by the NFL's Tim Tebow, professional basketball players and coaches have been vocal of late about bringing their faith onto the court.
Dwayne Wade, Kevin Durant and Nate Robinson are only a few players who have been vocal about infusing their faith into their games recently.
Wade, shooting guard for the Miami Heat, has been vocal about his faith for some time. The Christian athlete purchased the Temple of Praise church in Chicago for his mother Jolinda in 2008, and she recently showed her son love by putting together a birthday brunch in his honor.
At the Jan. 14 brunch, gospel singer Yolanda Adams and Christian rapper Rawsrvnt performed for Wade. After Pastor Wade prayed for her son's injury, Rawsrvnt spoke about the importance of attending the brunch to show people that they can enjoy life with Jesus.
"People just want to enjoy life. But unfortunately they often believe there is no joy in Jesus," Rawsrvnt said in a Houston Chronicle report. "We simply can't afford to keep the world's greatest message trapped inside the four walls of the church."
In a previous interview with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Executive Vice President of Ministry Dan Britton explained that some athletes may use their sport to worship God outside of a church.
"Worship and church is not just about a brick building," he said. "Therefore the playing field can be a sanctuary where athletes get to glorify God and use the gifts God has given them to perform, pray and compete just like they're in church."
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Shooting Guard, expressed the importance of continuing to study the Bible outside of a conventional church setting. During a press conference last April, Durant admitted to carrying a Bible in his backpack.
"I just want to grow spiritually with the Lord," Durant said. "It's something I always talked about, but I never really got into it."
While some NBA players have been speaking about studying their Bibles, others have been focused on uplifting one another in God. Nate Robinson, Golden State Warriors' guard, recently used Twitter to encourage the Houston Rockets' Terrence Williams to look to God for strength.
After Williams used Twitter to vent about not being a part of his team's starting lineup, Robinson offered his own advice.
"Kill them with kindness bro it works every time," Robinson tweeted. "Have faith believe in yourself and God. Let him guide you, never can you go wrong."
Robinson has also used his Twitter account to thank God after team victories. After a big win against the Miami Heat earlier in the season, the Golden State Warriors point guard gave thanks to God on the social media network.
"Glory to God thanks for this game. Warriors needed this win, God knows we did," Robinson tweeted. "Great win tonight gotta keep building and moving forward."
Although many players have admitted to using their faith on the court, NBA coaches have also spoken about turning to God during turbulent times. New Orleans Hornets coach Monty Williams recently spoke about God getting him through trading his franchise's most coveted player.
Chris Paul, the Los Angeles Clippers point guard who was traded from the Hornets, left the team in a highly-publicized affair. Paul's trade was admittedly difficult for Monty, who confessed that he got through the ordeal with prayer.
However, the New Orleans coach is no stranger to adversity. He has publicly spoken about receiving a fatal diagnosis for a heart condition during his college basketball career that, according to him, miraculously cleared up.
Williams also admitted to being suicidal after being molested as a child, and later turned his life over to God amid continued trials.
"I've forgiven them, those family members…in my heart," Williams once told the Orlando Sentinel. "By the grace of God, I'm here."