NBA Players That Are Jehovah’s Witnesses

Danny Granger - Jenovahs Witness

Spirituality means a lot to many folks and often serves them as an anchor in their lives. Being spiritual is about connecting to something bigger, which helps you bond with yourself and the people around you. And guess what? NBA players are on this spiritual vibe, too, with each following their own beliefs. 

Speaking of which, did you know there are a few ex-NBA players who are Jehovah’s Witnesses? For those who don’t know, it is a Christian faith that’s pretty unique for its door-knocking missions.

They’re all about God the Father, whom they call Jehovah, and they stick to the Old Testament rather than the New Testament teachings about Jesus.

So, how many former NBA ballers have embraced this faith? Well, it turns out there are at least three known ex-NBA players who are Jehovah’s Witnesses: Dewayne Dedmon, Danny Granger, and Darren Collison. There are also other individuals, like coaches, that are spiritual like this, and today, we will talk about them. Let’s begin.

1. Darren Collison

Darren Collison in Indiana Pacers Jersey
Screenshot from Youtube / Indiana Pacers

Darren Collison had quite the run in the NBA, starting in 2009 and hanging up his jersey in 2019. He rocked the court with the Indiana Pacers for four years and had a good stint in Sacramento for three.  Not just that, he showed his skills in Dallas, and New Orleans, and even played for both LA teams.

But in 2019, at the age of 31 and fresh from a season where he scored an average of 11.2 points and dished out 6 assists per game, he chose to step back and dedicate more time to his faith and family.  He put it beautifully, saying, “While I still love basketball, I know there is something more important, which is my family and my faith.” 

Fast forward to December 2021, Darren made a brief comeback, signing a 10-day contract with the Lakers. He got into three games before the Lakers decided not to renew his contract.

2. Detlef Schremph

Detlef Schrempf against Scottie Pippen
Screenshot from Youtube / BTM Basketball Time Machine

Detlef Schrempf, born in January of ’63, is a proud member of the Jehovah’s Witness community.  Back in the day, from the 80s to the 90s, he was tearing up the courts with the Indiana Pacers, Seattle SuperSonics, and Portland Trail Blazers. 

Detlef wasn’t shy about his faith either; he embraced it in the 90s and has been a steadfast believer ever since. Plus, he’s been all about sharing his spiritual journey and rocking it as an international ambassador for the NBA.

3. Dewayne Dedmon

Dewayne Dedmon as Miami Heat Player
Screenshot from Youtube / Luis Claudio De Jesús Charles

Dewayne Dedmon is a real standout when it comes to the NBA’s role players. But get this: if he’d taken his mom’s advice to heart, we might never have seen him in the league.  Growing up in a Jehovah’s Witness family, basketball was a no-go for him. His mom was pretty strict about it.

And as a teen, he was this skinny kid who never got any formal coaching because of his family’s beliefs.  But he wasn’t about to let that stop him. He hustled, worked on his game, and guess what? The NBA noticed. Sure, he hasn’t snagged a championship ring just yet, and he’s looking at the tail end of his career, but man, what a journey it’s been!

4. Danny Granger

Danny Granger - Indiana Pacers Player
Screenshot from Youtube /

Danny Granger, now there’s a name Pacers fans will remember fondly. He rocked the court for a solid nine seasons with Indiana, lighting up the scoreboard like nobody’s business. After his time with the Pacers, he took his talents to the sunny courts of the Los Angeles Clippers and then to the Miami Heat.

Despite his skills, a championship title eluded him.  Off the court, Granger’s life was steeped in his Jehovah’s Witness faith, growing up in a devout household. He made his commitment official with a baptism in 2017, a couple of years after bidding farewell to his NBA days.

5. Mark Jackson

Mark Jackson as a GSW Coach
Screenshot from Youtube / Stunted Growth

Mark Jackson is another Jehovah’s Witness who played and coached in the league. His NBA story kicked off back in ’87 when the New York Knicks picked him up.  He didn’t just stick with them, though, as he also hit the court with the Utah Jazz and the Indiana Pacers, wrapping up a hefty 17 seasons in the league.

Throughout his career, Jackson was pretty vocal about how his faith shaped his life on and off the court. He even said in a ’92 interview that his hoop dreams took a backseat to his spiritual life. After hanging up his jersey, Jackson switched gears to coaching, leading the Golden State Warriors for a solid four years, and was a big part of creating the team that became a dynasty after his tenure.

6. Jim McIlvaine

Jim McIlvaine- Marquette Player
Screenshot from Youtube / Marquette Golden Eagles

Jim McIlvaine’s story starts in Washington, and before he hit the big leagues, he was tearing it up on the court at Marquette University. Now, here’s the twist: right in the middle of his NBA career, he embraced the Jehovah’s Witness faith.

Since then, he’s been an open book about how his beliefs have shaped his life and career. Back in 2007, he gave an interview where he got real about it all. He shared that becoming a Jehovah’s Witness really homed in on what matters most in life for him. He said it’s his faith that gives him the guts to stand tall for his convictions. Pretty inspiring.

7. A.C. Green

A.C. Green - Jehovah’s Witness
Screenshot from Youtube / Semen Retention Club

A.C. Green, an Oregon native, rocked the college hoops scene at the University of Oregon before the Los Angeles Lakers scooped him up in the ’85 draft. He hustled on the court for 16 seasons, snagging three NBA championship rings along the way.

Throughout his career, A.C. was never shy about his faith. He stuck to his spiritual guns, choosing to stay celibate until he tied the knot. In an interview with ESPN back in 2012, he shared that he’s got this strong set of beliefs that he does his best to live by.

Using his NBA fame as a platform, A.C. became a vocal advocate for abstinence, lending his voice to several organizations that encouraged folks to wait until marriage. Even after hanging up his jersey, he didn’t slow down. A.C. kept on spreading the word about his faith and the values close to his heart.

Final Words

These guys really show us how diverse the NBA can be, not just in terms of skills on the court but also in the varied paths they’ve taken in life, especially when it comes to faith. It’s pretty cool to see how their spirituality, particularly their Jehovah’s Witness faith, has played an important role in both their personal and professional lives.

It just goes to show that no matter how intense the game gets, there’s always room for something more, something that deeply connects them to their core beliefs and values.

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