How Many Ex Nba Players Are Jehovah’s Witnesses? Balancing Religion and Sport

Many individuals find their grounding in spirituality, submitting to a higher power to cultivate a deeper sense of self and foster stronger relationships. This spiritual pursuit extends to various spheres of life, including sports.

In the context of basketball, former NBA players are not exempt from this quest for spiritual fulfillment, with some exploring and committing to distinct faiths.

Among these faiths, the Christian denomination of Jehovah’s Witnesses garners attention, particularly for its unique approach to evangelism and adherence to the tenets of the Old Testament.

Members of this faith prioritize their relationship with God, whom they refer to as Jehovah, and this has influenced several individuals within the basketball community.

Key Takeaways

  • Spirituality plays a significant role in the lives of many individuals, including former NBA players.
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses are distinguished by their focus on the Old Testament and referring to God as Jehovah.
  • The community of Jehovah’s Witnesses has had an impact on members of the professional basketball fraternity.

Former NBA Players Affiliated with Jehovah’s Witnesses

1. A.C. Green’s Faith and Career

A.C. Green



Former NBA player A.C. Green selected 23rd overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1985 draft, distinguished himself as a durable player by not missing a single game since his rookie season until his retirement in 2001.

While thriving on the court, Green also embodied his devout Christian faith. Joining Jehovah’s Witnesses in the mid-1980s, he maintained a strong dedication to his spirituality and practiced celibacy, adhering to it until marriage in 2002.

2. Danny Granger’s Spiritual Journey

Danny Granger

Danny Granger, with a Christian upbringing, spent nine seasons in the NBA, including tenures with the Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat according to Sportskeeda. After completing his basketball career, Granger embraced his faith further by getting baptized in 2017, renewing his commitment to his religious roots and sustaining his spiritual path post-retirement.

3. Detlef Schrempf’s Religious Commitment

Detlef Schrempf

Detlef Schrempf, hailing from a German American background, had a thriving NBA career in the 1980s and ’90s with teams like the Indiana Pacers, Seattle SuperSonics, and Portland Trail Blazers.

As a Jehovah’s Witness, which he embraced in the 1990s, Schrempf has been a devout member and an advocate for his faith, representing his spirituality within the basketball community internationally.

4. Reggie Theus Embracing Faith

Reggie Theus

Reggie Theus, whose NBA career spanned teams like the Chicago Bulls, Sacramento Kings, and Atlanta Hawks, chose to integrate his faith with his life on the basketball court. Embracing the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the 1990s, Theus’s journey reflected a mix of athleticism and spirituality.

5. Michael Adams: Balancing Basketball and Beliefs

Michael Adams

Michael Adams, known for his time with the Denver Nuggets and Washington Bullets, transitioned from a solid NBA career to a life focused on faith and family. After retiring in 1996, Adams became a committed follower of Jehovah’s Witness, dedicating his post-professional days to his beliefs.

6. Mark Jackson’s Conversion and Coaching

Mark Jackson

After retiring from his role as a point guard in 2004, Mark Jackson, known for his unparalleled passing skills and his leadership in taking the Indiana Pacers to the 2000 Finals, served as head coach for the Golden State Warriors between 2011 and 2014. Jackson’s spiritual life saw a transformation as he switched to Christianity and then embraced Jehovah’s Witnesses, committing wholeheartedly to the faith.

7. Wayman Tisdale’s Life Beyond the Court

Wayman Tisdale

Wayman Tisdale thrived in the NBA from 1985 to 1997, playing for teams like the Indiana Pacers, Phoenix Suns, and Sacramento Kings. However, his talents extended beyond basketball as he excelled as a jazz musician, releasing multiple albums. A faithful member of Jehovah’s Witnesses until his passing in 2009, Tisdale often infused his music with elements of his faith.

8. Dave Meyers’ Dedication to Faith

Dave meyers

Dave Meyers stepped away from a promising NBA career with the UCLA Bruins, where he achieved two NCAA championships, to prioritize his family and faith. A committed Jehovah’s Witness, Meyers’s strong convictions influenced his health decisions, such as forgoing a back surgery that conflicted with his beliefs. He remained steadfast in his faith until his passing from cancer in 2015.

9. Greg Ostertag and His Religious Resolve

Greg Ostertag

Greg Ostertag played a majority of his NBA career with the Utah Jazz, converting to become a Jehovah’s Witness during this time. Despite facing criticism for his religious devotion, Ostertag remained unwavering in his beliefs throughout his career, until his retirement in 2006.

NBA Players Who Became Jehovah’s Witnesses

1. Darren Collison’s Religious Pursuits

Darren Collison

Darren Collison, an experienced player, chose to leave his professional basketball career in 2019 after playing for various teams such as the Dallas Mavericks and Sacramento Kings. He made this choice to dedicate more time to his religious practice as a Jehovah’s Witness.

Nevertheless, Collison returned to the court in 2021, joining the Los Angeles Lakers, showing it’s possible to balance professional sports and personal faith commitments.

2. Dewayne Dedmon’s Balancing Act

Dewayne Dedmon

Dewayne Dedmon was raised in a household that adhered to Jehovah’s Witness teachings, where initially, his participation in basketball was discouraged. Overcoming these restrictions, Dedmon has forged a successful career in the NBA with teams like the Orlando Magic and the Philadelphia 76ers. Walking the line between faith and sport, his mother came to support his choices, and Dedmon continues to be a devoted follower of his faith while showcasing his talent in the league.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Jehovah’s Witnesses’ stance on professional sports?

Jehovah’s Witnesses are not prohibited from participating in professional sports. However, members are encouraged to maintain a balance and ensure their spiritual activities remain a priority.

How do Jehovah’s Witnesses in the NBA balance their faith and career?

Players balance their faith and career by dedicating time to religious activities and congregation meetings, even with the demanding schedule of professional sports.

Do Jehovah’s Witnesses face any challenges in professional sports?

Yes, they may face challenges such as scheduling conflicts with religious events and managing the focus on competitive success versus spiritual values.

Can Jehovah’s Witnesses accept sports scholarships or play college basketball?

Yes, they can accept sports scholarships and play college basketball, provided they continue to prioritize their spiritual commitments.

How do Jehovah’s Witnesses view the competitive nature of sports?

While not opposed to competition, Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught to avoid letting competitiveness lead to behaviors that conflict with Christian principles, such as excessive aggression or pride.


The intersection of faith and professional sports is evident in the lives of several former and current NBA players who are Jehovah’s Witnesses. These athletes have navigated the challenges of maintaining their religious commitments while excelling in their careers, demonstrating that it’s possible to integrate spirituality with professional ambitions. Their stories underscore the diverse ways individuals can honor their faith in various aspects of life, including the competitive world of sports.