- - Thursday, August 17, 2023

When NBA player Jonathan Isaac refused to kneel during the National Anthem in the midst of the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020, it sparked a new determination in him to wear his Godly principles and values on his sleeve — literally. Fast forward three years, and the Orlando Magic forward recently launched his own sports and apparel company, Unitus, to encourage others to not be ashamed of what they believe.

“Unitus was taking the values that I hold dear, in my personal life: faith, family, freedom and a plethora of other ones, and putting them on a pedestal through, in my opinion, really dope merch, and allowing people to join the community and wear their values on their sleeve and not be ashamed of them,” Mr. Isaac told the Washington Times.

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The 25-year-old, who said he experienced “more positivity than negativity” after his National Anthem moment went viral, hopes to inspire others who share his Christian and conservative views to stand united as a community, which is a key part of his brand.

“I know what it’s like to stand alone for something. I know what it’s like to feel lonely and feel like you’re the only one in the room with a specific set of ideal and values,” said Mr. Isaac, who also wrote a bestselling book about his experience, titled “Why I Stand.” “But being able to create something where people can come together and find community and say ‘Well, I believe these things but here goes somebody else that believes the same thing and we can stand together.’”

And while it has become common for companies to promote their own set of values, it’s rare to find one that chooses to honor God. Through Unitus, Mr. Isaac hopes to fill that void and create an alternative for people like himself who are tired of giving their money to companies that openly oppose their faith.

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“I really do see it as so much more than a clothing line,” he said. “It’s about saying our values are valid and they’re valuable to us and so we’ll celebrate them through what we put on our body and how we spend out money at the end of the day.”

The beauty of God’s timing is that the launch is coming at a time when more and more Christians and conservatives are taking a stand. Just look at retailer Target, which has seen its quarterly sales fall for the first time in six years following backlash and boycotts over the company’s Pride month merchandise for children.

But if the cultural tides continue in the direction they are going, taking a stand could become more costly and “more necessary” for people of faith. In those moments, Mr. Isaac hopes that Christians will remember that “it’s okay to be terrified,” and that when they choose to stand, they are never truly standing alone.

“I have seen through everything, through the times where I was terrified but I decided to stand anyway, God has been right there to lift me, carry me, give me the grace to handle what is coming next,” he said. “It is terrible, it is hard, it is scary, but if you trust God and stand on His word, He will stand for you.”

Marissa Mayer is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her work has been featured in Christian Post, The Daily Signal, and Intellectual Takeout. Mayer has a B.A. in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing from Arizona State University.

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