15 Athletes Who Are Jehovah’s Witnesses 2024: Profiles and Beliefs in Sports

Venus and Serena Williams at the 2003 Wimbledon final

All around the world, more than 8.2 million people are devout followers of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and intriguingly, this group includes several high-profile athletes. These sports stars, ranging from boxers to basketball players and baseball professionals, all share a common faith while are one of the best in the World in their fields.

While some were born into this religious belief, others embraced it later in life, finding solace and direction in its teachings. Notably, the realm of tennis boasts two of the greatest female athletes who practice Jehovah’s Witness faith.

Among them, Serena Williams stands out as perhaps the most famous athlete associated with Jehovah’s Witnesses. She, along with her sister Venus, was brought up following the faith’s traditions.

Key Takeaways

  • Tennis players Serena and Venus Williams
  • Baseball players Chet Lemon and Lou Whitaker
  • NBA players Darren Collison and Danny Granger
  • Professional golfer Mark McCumber
  • Footballer Peter Knowles
  • ABA and NBA player Willie Wise
  • Basketball player Dave Meyers
  • Boxer Kid Gavilán
  • Ice hockey goaltender Travis Scott
  • NFL player Dave Pear

1. Chet Lemon

Chet Lemon, selected first overall in the 1972 draft by the Chicago White Sox, later became a key player for the Detroit Tigers as their center fielder, contributing to their 1984 World Series victory according to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

He was born on February 12, 1955.

He is famous for his exceptional defensive skills in center field, Lemon’s life took a significant turn during his time with the Chicago White Sox in the 1970s after he encountered Jehovah’s Witnesses.

His commitment to this faith deepened to such an extent that in 1991, faced with a life-threatening blood disorder, he adhered to his religious beliefs against undergoing surgery as per Tampa Bay states.

  • Age: 69
  • Birthplace: Jackson, Mississippi
  • Teams: Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox

2. Serena Williams

Serena Williams was born on September 26, 1981.

She is a well-known athlete who began her professional tennis career at 14, receiving a wild card entry at the Bank of the West Classic in Oakland, California. according to World Tennis Magazine.

Since then, the 41-year-old has secured 23 Grand Slam singles titles and has been named the Laureus Sportswoman of the Year four times, among other achievements, establishing her as the most successful female tennis player in history.

  • Age: 42
  • Birthplace: Saginaw, Michigan

3. Venus Williams

Venus Williams was born on June 17, 1980, and, like her sister Serena, was brought up and coached within the Williams family.

Her tennis potential was spotted by a local player, Tony Chesta, when she was just seven, leading to her signing as highlighted by LTA.

By age eleven, Venus had made it onto the junior tour and achieved the No. 1 ranking in Southern California for players under twelve.

Throughout her career, Venus has won seven Grand Slam singles titles and three Olympic women’s doubles gold medals, cementing her status as a legend in the sport.

  • Age: 43
  • Birthplace: Lynwood, California

4. Darren Collison

Darren Collison, born on August 23, 1987, started his basketball career in college, playing four years for the UCLA Bruins.

His performance peaked in his senior year when he won the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award and was picked by the New Orleans Hornets in the NBA draft.

Collison played as a point guard for the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans, Dallas Mavericks, and Los Angeles Lakers from 2009 to 2019.

Following a season where he averaged 11.2 points and six assists per game, he retired in 2019 to focus on his religious faith saying in a statement:

“While I still love basketball, I know there is something more important, which is my family and my faith. I am one of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and my faith means everything to me.”

  • Birthdate: August 23, 1987
  • Highlights: Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award winner, former NBA point guard for the New Orleans Pelicans, Dallas Mavericks, and Los Angeles Clippers
  • Retirement: 2019 to pursue religious dedication

5. Travis Scott

Travis Scott, born on September 14, 1975, is a professional ice hockey goalie who played nine years in the American Hockey League according to Famous Fix.

He spent the last six years of his career in Europe, winning championships in the Russian Superleague, the German Deutsche Eishockey Liga, the Austrian Hockey League, and the Kontinental Hockey League as per Alchetron.

He also has experience playing for the Los Angeles Kings.

  • Age: 48
  • Birthplace: Kanata, Ottawa, Canada
  • Teams: Kölner Haie

6. Lou Whitaker

Born on May 12, 1957, Lou Whitaker played baseball from high school to college before being drafted by the Detroit Tigers, where he spent his entire career.

He contributed to the Tigers’ 1984 World Series victory and played in 2,390 games before retiring in August 2022 according to ClickOnDetroit.

Seven years ago, Whitaker was recognized as an American League All-Star, earned four Silver Slugger Awards, and won three Gold Glove Awards.

His teammate Chet Lemon introduced him this faith. Whitaker, who did not grow up as Jehovah’s Witness, later converted to the religion.

He now dedicates at least 840 hours annually to missionary work for the organization.

  • Age: 66
  • Birthplace: New York City, New York
  • Teams: Detroit Tigers, Detroit Tigers

7. Dewayne Dedmon

Dewayne is a notable supporting player in the NBA, a position he attained against the backdrop of growing up in a Jehovah’s Witness family where his mom didn’t support his basketball ambitions.

He taught himself the skills necessary to enter the NBA because he didn’t have access to professional coaching.

Despite not winning a championship with the Miami Heat, his path to the NBA is noteworthy.

  • Age: 34
  • Birthplace: Lancaster, California
  • Teams: Miami Heat

8. Kid Gavilán

Gavilán, also known as Gerardo González, was born on January 6, 1926, and is a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame as highlighted by the Ring.

His boxing record includes 107 wins (27 by knockout), 30 losses, and six draws.

He ended his boxing career in the late 1960s and became a Jehovah’s Witness, which led to his imprisonment by the Castro government.

Gavilán, who won an Olympic gold medal, passed away on February 13, 2003, at the age of 77.

  • Age: Dec. at 77 (1926-2003)
  • Birthplace: Berrocal, Spain

9. Dave Pear

Born on June 1, 1953, played college football under the legendary coach Jim Owens before being drafted by the Baltimore Colts in 1975.

He made history as the first player from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to be selected in the draft.

Pear played in the Pro Bowl and was part of the Oakland Raiders team that won Super Bowl XV according to the Raiders website.

Now 71 years old, Pear’s football career has left him dealing with vertigo, memory loss, and speech difficulties.

He is a Jehovah’s Witness and uses his blog to express his faith and advocate for justice.

He stated once:  

“I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and an advocate for justice!”

  • Age: 70
  • Birthplace: Vancouver, Washington

10. Danny Granger

Danny Granger was born on April 20, 1983. Following his two-year stint at the University of New Mexico, he was drafted by the Indiana Pacers in 2005, marking the start of his ten-season NBA career as per Proballers.

Granger stood out as one of the Pacers’ top scorers for nine seasons. He later joined the Los Angeles Clippers and the Miami Heat as a forward.

Despite his contributions, he was never able to secure a championship title with any of these teams.  

It is unclear if he still practices the faith today.

  • Age: 40 (on April 20. 2024)
  • Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Teams: Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana Pacers, Indiana Pacers

11. Mark McCumber

Former Golf Player and Jehovahs Witness - Mark McCumber

Mark McCumber is a professional golfer with experience on both the PGA and Champions Tours, having 10 PGA Tour victories.

He also teamed up with Ben Crenshaw to secure a win for the United States in the World Cup.

Beyond his playing career, McCumber has worked in golf course architecture and served as an analyst for Fox Sports.

He is a committed Jehovah’s Witness and frequently delivers sermons to clarify misconceptions about his faith.

He also says:

“It’s a very misunderstood religion.”

  • Age: 72
  • Birthplace: Jacksonville, Florida

12. Peter Knowles

Fomer Football Player Peter Knowles


Peter Knowles, born on September 30, 1945, started his professional football career with Wolverhampton Wanderers, scoring 101 career goals.

He is also known for being one of the footballers who are Jehovah’s Witnesses.

He chose to leave football to dedicate his life to his faith, taking on various jobs such as reportedly delivering milk, washing windows, and working in a warehouse for Marks & Spencer.

Today Knowles says he does not regret leaving his successful football career for his beliefs.

  • Age: 78 
  • Life Choices: Transitioned from professional football to embrace full-time religious activities

13. Willie Wise

Willie Wise - ABA League Player

Willie Wise, who was born on March 3, 1947, became a big name in the American Basketball Association (ABA) as a top player during his tenure with the Utah Stars, leading them to win the 1971 ABA championship according to a source.

He also achieved NBA All-Star status with his performances for the Denver Nuggets and Seattle SuperSonics.

Unfortunately, his professional basketball career was cut short due to a knee injury. Before entering the NBA, Wise had considered becoming a Jehovah’s Witness minister.

  • Age: 77
  • Birthplace: California
  • Teams: Denver Nuggets, Seattle Supersonics

14. Dave Meyers

Dave Meyers was a Jehovah's Witness

Dave Meyers was born on April 21, 1953. He played college basketball for the UCLA Bruins, winning two national championships during his tenure.

In 1975, Meyers was drafted in the first round by the Milwaukee Bucks, where he played as a forward.

He retired from professional basketball in 1980 to focus on his faith and family.

Dave Meyers died on October 9, 2015, at the age of 62.

  • Birthplace: Vancouver, Washington

15. Dwight Howard

Former NBA Star Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard, who was born on December 8, 1985, is a well-known NBA player with a career spanning several teams, including the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, and Houston Rockets.

He is also a devout Jehovah’s Witness, a faith that he credits guiding his personal life and professional career. 

  • Age: 38
  • Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia,
  • USA Teams: Notably Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets

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