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NBA player releases first basketball sneakers with visible Bible verses

Christian NBA player Jonathan Isaac poses with shoes from his UNITUS JUDAH 1 sneaker line in a promotional video posted on Nov. 16, 2023.
Christian NBA player Jonathan Isaac poses with shoes from his UNITUS JUDAH 1 sneaker line in a promotional video posted on Nov. 16, 2023. | Screenshot: Twitter/Jonathan Judah Isaac

Christian NBA player Jonathan Isaac has recently released a new line of basketball sneakers with visible Bible verses on the exterior of the footwear.

The new footwear, reportedly the first basketball sneakers with Bible verses printed on the back exterior of each pair, features different Bible verses, including 2 Corinthians 4:9 and Romans 8:37.

Isaac announced on X earlier this month that his new apparel line, UNITUS, released the first JUDAH 1 Triumph on Nov. 16.

"Most people see the 'Judah 1' as an outlandish endeavor. Shoot, when we first started, so did I. I was afraid that delivering a sneaker that represented our values without compromising style or performance was too tall a task. But, here we are; the first basketball sneaker with visible Bible verses becomes available," the 26-year-old Orlando Magic forward wrote in an X post last week.  

"I tried my best to come up with Bible verses that were important to me and spoke to my journey and spoke to who I am as an individual." 

2 Corinthians 4:9 reads, "persecuted, but not abandoned;
struck down, but not destroyed." Romans 8:37 states, "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."

In a promotional video, Isaac said his vision for the Scripture-inclusive sneakers was to encourage others "to live bold," which he defined as "standing up for what you believe in." 

"What would it look like to give people the freedom to wear their values on their feet and just have that freedom to say, 'This is who I am. This is what I stand for?' Making a decision to be authentically you no matter what anybody has to say about it, no matter what anybody thinks; no matter what you may face or come up against," Isaac said.  

Christian NBA player Jonathan Isaac poses with shoes from his UNITUS JUDAH 1 sneaker line in a promotional video.
Christian NBA player Jonathan Isaac poses with shoes from his UNITUS JUDAH 1 sneaker line in a promotional video. | Screenshot: Twitter/Jonathan Judah Isaac

Isaac hopes the new sneakers will be respected as "real basketball sneakers." 

"When it comes to the on-court performance of the shoe, what I absolutely needed it to be was a real basketball sneaker. It's robust. It is strong. I'm excited for people to check it out and get their hands on it," Isaac said. 

Isaac is outspoken about his beliefs. Also an ordained Christian minister, he made headlines in 2020 for refusing to kneel during the National Anthem alongside his teammates who were wearing jerseys supporting BLM. 

Signed initially to Nike as a brand ambassador in 2020, Isaac said he left Nike to launch his UNITUS clothing line — which is described as "a high-quality apparel line that celebrates faith and family values." 

"The foundation of the idea, the foundation of the name is all founded on the principles of God and just prayer, asking God to unite us as a nation, as a people, as a body of Christ," Isaac said in an earlier interview with The Christian Post.

Isaac said he knew he had a choice to either complain or create a brand distinct from more liberal-leaning companies. 

"The conversation has been framed in a way where if you don't agree with these set values and precepts, then you're automatically deemed as hateful. It's not just that you have a different set of opinions, it's that your opinions, if they are aligned with Christ, they align with family, if they align with traditional values, then you're seen as a hateful person," Isaac told CP.

"It's easy for companies to jump on the bandwagon to say, 'Hey, we support these values over here, because the people over here are hateful.' Whereas the truth is, most people who stand for [God's] values aren't hateful at all. They just believe differently." 

Nicole Alcindor is a reporter for The Christian Post. 

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