Topics like “NBA players who are Jehovah’s Witnesses” aren’t topics that most individuals would think could trend. But after Brittany Schmidt’s comment, it became a hot topic.
The Comedian Brittany revealed that she slept with an ex-NBA player who called her years later that he was now a Jehovah’s Witness. When the news broke out, fans assumed the person she was referring to was Danny Granger, a former Pacers player.
Brittany was kind enough not to reveal the former player’s identity. But then, a simple Google search reveals that several NBA players were Jehovah’s Witnesses. So, who are those players? Keep reading for more details.
Who Jehovah’s Witnesses Are
First and foremost, Jehovah’s Witnesses are a Christian faith. However, some of their religious beliefs don’t align with other Christians.
They believe God created the heavens and the earth and has a son called Jesus Christ. They also believe that Jesus Christ died for humanity’s sins.
Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe in the Trinity. That is, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They don’t believe that God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit are one. What they believe is that there is a father and son called Jesus Christ.
They believe in Armageddon, which is the destruction of the world. They believe the world will end one day, and establishing God’s kingdom on earth is the only way to put an end to the suffering of humanity.
When Was Jehovah’s Witness Established?
Jehovah’s Witnesses began in 1870 by Charles Taze Russell, who led Bible studies in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. The Jehovah’s Witness movement was a product of a Bible student movement founded by Russell.
Russell disputed many of the traditional Christian views at the time. For instance, Witnesses don’t believe in the Trinity. They also believe God’s name is “Jehovah,” the creator of all things, according to Revelations 4:11.
There are Jehovah’s Witness members across the globe. They are even in North Korea, a country that frowns against religious activities. There are roughly around 25,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses in North Korea, though they can only practice their faith in secret.
If caught, persecution is the next thing that follows. That’s how strict the North Korean government is regarding Jehovah’s Witnesses and even other religions.
There are many top personalities and superstar athletes who are Jehovah’s Witnesses. Reports have indicated that the religious sect has over 100,000 members comprising renowned athletes across the globe.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are a millenarian restorationist Christian sect well-known for regular evangelism. They move in groups and preach what they call the truth to anyone who cares to listen.
Reports indicate that there are over 8.5 million Jehovah’s Witnesses in the world who are evangelizing. 19.7 million Witnesses also participate in their annual memorial service.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses are one of the most organized Christian groups worldwide. They have a governing body composed of elders based in Warwick, New York, United States.
The elders direct the religious group, developing the beliefs based on their interpretation of the Bible. The governing body sets the rules and regulations for the members to follow.
NBA Players Rumored To Be Jehovah’s Witnesses
In most cases, it’s easier to identify individuals or athletes who are Jehovah’s Witnesses. How? The thing is, members of the religious sect try to be distinct in all they do.
They are modest, simple, and easy-going. Athletes who are Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t regard themselves as celebrities. They don’t even live extravagant lifestyles. They don’t own a fleet of expensive cars or dress like most athletes.
You can hardly spot a devoted Jehovah’s Witness with expensive diamonds or tattoos all over their bodies. They like to look clean, simple, dedicated and stay honest in all they do.
Here are the basketball players rumored to be Jehovah’s Witnesses.
1. Darren Michael Collins
The NBA community was given a huge surprise by Darren in 2019, following the announcement of his retirement. Darren’s retirement came after nine seasons in the NBA.
In Darren’s nine years as a professional basketball player, he played for five teams, including the Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas Mavericks, and Sacramento Kings.
Why did Darren retire from basketball in 2019?
Firstly, he was a devoted Jehovah’s Witness. Unfortunately, devoting time to the game of basketball and his faith was a huge challenge. Thus, he thought it would be wise to quit basketball and devote more time to his faith.
The retirement came as a shock to the NBA community, including fans. But it was the best decision Darren would have made at that point in time. He returned to the NBA in 2021 after striking a balance between his faith and professional career.
Darren was a devoted Jehovah’s Witness member and was always sharing his beliefs with anyone who cares to listen. And he wasn’t short of offers, even during retirement.
Most athletes in the world today are struggling to strike a balance between their professional careers and religion. By the way, there is a lot of money in sports, so the temptation is out of this world.
Darren found the balance between his religion and professional career. And he did exploit in both areas. Even when he retired and came back, everyone could see that he returned because of the love he had for the game, not the money.
Darren is a good example for other athletes trying to strike a balance between their religion, professional career, family, and personal life. His life and how he managed all the things happening around him so effortlessly should inspire anyone.
He stayed true to his beliefs while enjoying the game he had always cherished from a young age. He’s a man of faith and a role model to people who look to him for inspiration.
2. Dewayne Dedmon:
Unlike most former athletes who converted to Jehovah’s Witnesses after retirement, Dewayne Dedmon was born into a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses. He was such a talented player and a devoted Jehovah’s Witness.
At first, Dewayne’s mother didn’t want him to play basketball. She feared that Dewayne would backslide if he played basketball.
Dewayne never gave up on his dream. He believed he could devote time to his faith and professional career. His mother finally accepted his proposal to play basketball and be a Jehovah’s Witness member.
Dewayne Dedmon was born on August 12, 1989, in Lancaster, California, United States of America. He played basketball with several teams, such as Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers, and Oklahoma City Thunder. He was such a joy to watch and was quite successful as a player.
Dewayne Dedmon initially had challenges balancing his basketball career and religion. He also felt it was wrong to play basketball on the Sabbath, but there was nothing he could do to change the schedule. He just had to accept the schedule if he ever wanted to play basketball.
The schedule wasn’t the only challenge Dedmon faced while trying to play basketball and dedicate time to his religion. He also had challenges fitting into the NBA’s lifestyle.
Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t party, smoke, or drink. Unfortunately, Dedmon was surrounded by team members who didn’t share the same faith. Thus, partying, drinking, and clubbing were normal social activities for them.
In 2017, Dedmon appeared to have had enough. He was struggling to strike a balance between his faith and professional career, which forced him to quit professional basketball. But then, he didn’t stop playing entirely.
Dedmon retired from professional basketball to play in his church league. But he later returned after discovering that he could actually play at the highest level and still practice his religion.
It is important for people to find a balance between their religion and professional career. It is doable, and one of them doesn’t have to suffer. For someone like Dedmon, it was impossible to quit his religion. He was born a Jehovah’s Witness and has family members who will always remind him about his commitment to his religion.
Dedmon and Danny Granger established Hoops Express, a charitable organization focused on helping young athletes actualize their true potential while living healthy lifestyles. Both athletes played basketball at the highest level and lived healthy lifestyles. So, they’re in a very good position to help youngsters follow similar paths.
Dedmon showed that people can achieve anything they set their minds to. He showed that people can be religious and yet partake in their favorite sports. He played basketball at the highest level and didn’t have to party, smoke, or drink to deliver such incredible performances that he delivered every single time he stepped onto the court.
3. Danny Granger:
Danny Granger is another NBA player who has shown the world that athletes can keep their faith and participate in their favorite sports at the highest level.
Granger was raised in a Christian home and had sound spiritual beliefs. He was a devoted Jehovah’s Witness member and partook in various charitable works.
He was involved with World Vision and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He was an accomplished basketball player known for his extraordinary performances on the court.
Granger was a player many teams dreaded. He’s so skillful and averaged 17.4 points per game. In addition, his size and speed made him a treat to opponents.
The Indiana Pacers drafted Granger in 2005 (after a two-year college stint at New Mexico), and he spent most of his professional career with the club. He also played for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Granger won several awards and recognitions as a player. He was recognized as an All-Star and won the “Most Improved Player” award.
Granger was a true professional and devoted Christian. He was devoted to his faith and did everything possible to ensure that his religion and career were given equal attention.
He showed what it means for people to stay true to their beliefs and values no matter the circumstances they find themselves in. Despite being a Jehovah’s Witness, a religion well-known for its strict laws, Granger was a successful basketball player.
Like other athletes, Granger struggled with combining his faith and professional career. He had challenges with blood transfusion and holidays, as these were against his faith. However, the challenges didn’t stop him from playing basketball.
He helped a lot of children with life-threatening diseases through his charitable work. He also finds time to educate his fellow players and coaches about Jehovah’s Witnesses. Granger believes that by educating people about his religion, he can help to address any misconception they have about JWs.
Danny Granger retired from basketball in 2017 and was openly baptized.
4. Detlef Schrempf
There is a popular joke that Detlef Schrempf does too much charitable work to be a JW (Jehovah’s Witness), but that’s who he is. Most JWs do plenty of charitable work, too, by the way.
Schrempf was born on January 21, 1963. He’s a German-American and a former basketball player. He had a highly successful career playing the sport from the 1980s to the 1990s. He’s another athlete who has shown the world anyone can stay true to their religious beliefs and participate in their favorite sports.
Schrempf played for the Indiana Pacers, Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle SuperSonics.
5. A.C. Green:
A.C. Green is a former professional basketball player popularly called “Iron Man.” He was born on October 4, 1963. In addition to his skills and achievements in the game, A.C. Green was popularly known for his dedication to celibacy, which was rooted in his faith.
He was a devoted Jehovah’s Witness member and a top professional. The remarkable commitment A.C. Green showed toward his principles set him apart.
He was the Lakers’ first-round pick that took place in the 1985 college draft. And his stellar performances didn’t go unnoticed either, as he became the first rookie since LeRoy Ellis to play every single game.
A.C. Green had a remarkable career and retired in 2001. He not only preached but practiced celibacy, something he tied to his religious belief. He remained celibate until 2002, when he finally got married to Veronique Green.
6. Michael Adams:
Michael Adams was born on January 19, 1963. He is an American basketball player and coach. He played basketball for the Boston College Eagles.
Michael Adams had 11 seasons in National Basketball Associations with the Kings, Denver Nuggets, Washington Bullets, and Charlotte Hornets.
Adams joined Jehovah’s Witnesses in the 90s and became a dedicated follower. Even after retirement, Adams remained a devoted JW member.
7. Wayman Tisdale:
Wayman Tisdale is another former professional basketball player who had a great career in the NBA. He had 12 seasons in the National Basketball Association.
Tisdale played for the Indiana Pacers, Phoenix Suns, and Sacramento Kings. He loved music, particularly Jazz music, and was a good singer.
Tisdale was a devoted JW member and used his music to convey messages about his faith. Unfortunately, he died in 2009 at age 44.
8. Reggie Theus:
Reggie Theus is another popular professional basketball player who practiced his religion against all odds. He was a devoted Jehovah’s Witness member.
Reggie Theus joined the JWs in the 90s. And he had a 13-year career in the NBA. He was a two-time NBA All-Star and played for notable teams such as the Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks, and Sacramento Kings. He was such a versatile and skill-full player
9. Mark Jackson:
Mark Jackson is one of the best basketball players in the history of the game. His passes and vision in the court were out of this world. He was one of the league’s top-ranking playmakers and ranked third in all-time assists.
Jackson played for top teams like the Indiana Pacers, the New York Knicks, and the Golden State Warriors. He retired from basketball in 2004 after a highly successful career as a point guard.
Mark Jackson picked up coaching after retirement and has shown how much of a good coach he is. He coached the Golden State Warriors and led them to their first NBA championship in 40 years.
He has always been a Christian. However, he decided to join the Jehovah’s Witnesses when he left the game.
10. Dave Meyers:
Dave Meyers is one of the ex-basketball players who became a Jehovah’s Witness. He was a two-time NCAA champion with UCLA Bruins. The Lakers drafted him in 1975 but later traded him to the Bucks in order to get Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
He played five seasons in the NBA, averaging 11.2 points and 6.3 rebounds. He was such a highly skillful and agile player who made everyone in his team work harder.
Being a devoted Jehovah’s Witness member means you have to follow the doctrines of the religion. Dave Meyers knew this and wasn’t ready to compromise. Even when he had a back injury that required a surgical operation, he refused to undergo the operation as it was against his faith.
11. Gregory Donovan Ostertag:
Greg was a former basketball player and a devoted Jehovah’s Witness member. He played for the Utah Jazz for a greater part of his professional career.
Greg became a Jehovah’s Witness member while playing professional basketball. He was heavily criticized but never gave up. He finally retired in 2006.
Is Michael Jordan A Jehovah’s Witness?
There were rumors for quite some time that Michael Jordan was a Jehovah’s Witness. Here, we did some digging and uncovered the real facts. Michael Jordan does have a Christian background, as he grew up in a Christian home. But he isn’t a Jehovah’s Witness.
Michael’s parents, James (father) and Deloris (mother), were Christians. They ensured MJ and his other four siblings attended church service every Sunday. This helped MJ to grow up as a God-fearing man and devoted Christian.
Deloris Jordan, MJ’s mother, once told the Christian Broadcasting Network that going to Church and being a Christian in the Jordan family was non-negotiable. She likened going to church to going to school.
Unfortunately, Michael Jordan found going to church much harder when he became famous. In an interview with GQ, MJ stated how the people in his church was always stirring at him, making him uncomfortable and unfocused.
In his words, the church is supposed to be a place of worship and peace. Unfortunately, it’s hard to feel comfortable when the spotlight is on you rather than the word of God that’s being preached.
MJ also claimed his church in Wilmington did something he wasn’t always comfortable with. He claims his church always asks him to say a few words anytime he comes to church, placing him in the spotlight.
A Handy Tip: James R. Jordan, Michael Jordan’s father, did play basketball in his youth days. And there are rumors that he was a Jehovah’s Witness member back in the day.
Well, there isn’t much information about him being a Jehovah’s Witness back then. The one thing we all know is that Michael R. James was a Christian.
Here are NBA players who are Jehovah’s Witness members. They were devoted Christians and had a highly successful career.
Being a Jehovah’s Witness and a professional basketball at the same time is never an easy task. JWs are popular for their evangelical work, which requires the participation of every member in each zone.
The NBA superstars mentioned in this post were able to keep their faith and play basketball at the highest level. They were able to strike a balance between their religion and professional careers.
These superstars are role models for any individual who has a problem pursuing their professional career and keeping the faith. They have shown the world that athletes don’t have to compromise their faith to have successful careers.