The NBA, as the premier basketball league globally, boasts a diverse roster of players representing various nationalities, races, religions, and backgrounds.
Among the diverse spectrum of beliefs embraced by NBA athletes, some have chosen to follow the teachings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a Christian denomination that originated in the 1870s.
In this article, we delve into the lives of three former NBA players who are Jehovah’s Witnesses: Darren Collison, Danny Granger, and Dewayne Dedmon.
Darren Collison, a skilled point guard, enjoyed a decade-long NBA career from 2009 to 2019, playing for notable teams such as the Indiana Pacers, Dallas Mavericks, and both Los Angeles teams. In 2019, at the age of 31, Collison made a surprising decision to retire from professional basketball to focus on his faith. Despite a productive season with the Indiana Pacers, where he averaged 11.2 points and 6 assists per game, Collison emphasized the importance of family and faith in his retirement announcement. In a demonstration of his commitment, he returned to the NBA briefly in 2021, signing a 10-day contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, but ultimately left after the contract expired.
Danny Granger, another former NBA player associated with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, spent the majority of his nine-season career with the Indiana Pacers, showcasing his scoring prowess. While he also played for the Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat, a championship eluded him. Raised in a religious household practicing Jehovah’s Witnesses teachings, Granger’s baptism into the faith occurred in 2017, two years after concluding his NBA career. His story reflects the unique journey some athletes take in exploring their faith after their time on the court.
Dewayne Dedmon, a 7-foot center recognized for his role-playing abilities in the NBA, faced unique challenges growing up within a Jehovah’s Witnesses household. Initially prohibited by his mother from playing basketball, Dedmon defied the odds and worked hard to secure a place in the NBA. Despite being undersized and uncoached during his teenage years due to religious constraints, Dedmon’s determination led to a successful career in professional basketball. His story serves as an inspiring testament to the resilience and dedication required to overcome obstacles in pursuit of one’s dreams.
The intersection of faith and professional sports is a compelling aspect of many athletes’ lives. In the case of Darren Collison, Danny Granger, and Dewayne Dedmon, their journeys as Jehovah’s Witnesses add a unique layer to their basketball legacies. These players, through their decisions and experiences, provide a glimpse into the diverse backgrounds that contribute to the rich tapestry of the NBA.
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