Blog/How Many Ex-NBA Players Are Jehovah's Witnesses?
How Many Ex-NBA Players Are Jehovah's Witnesses?
5 min read

How Many Ex-NBA Players Are Jehovah's Witnesses?

5 min read
Fahim FaisalJun 19, 2023

How Many Ex NBA Players Are Jehovah's Witnesses in 2023?

When we think of NBA players, we often focus on their athletic prowess and competitive spirit. But what about their faith? For some players, their religious beliefs play a crucial role in their lives both on and off the court.

In this blog post, we will delve into the fascinating stories of ex NBA players who have embraced the Jehovah's Witness faith, exploring how many ex NBA players are Jehovah's Witnesses and how their spirituality has impacted their careers and personal lives.

Short Summary

  • This article examines the stories of four former NBA players who have embraced the Jehovah's Witness faith and how it has influenced their professional basketball careers.

  • Faith plays an important role in providing support, strength, and focus to athletes when faced with pressure or adversity in professional basketball.

  • Notable NBA players such as Kobe Bryant and Jeremy Lin demonstrate how spirituality can impact their personal lives as well as their sports career.

The Faithful Few: Ex NBA Players Who Embraced Jehovah's Witness Faith

In the highly competitive world of professional basketball, it's not often we hear about players who prioritize their faith above their careers. However, several ex NBA players have made headlines for their devotion to the Jehovah's Witness faith, demonstrating the profound impact of spirituality in their lives. Among these athletes are Darren Collison, Danny Granger, Dewayne Dedmon, and Dave Meyers, each with a unique story of perseverance and dedication.

Let's take a closer look at the spiritual journeys of these remarkable individuals and discover how their faith has shaped their experiences in the world of professional basketball.

1. Darren Collison's Spiritual Journey.

Darren Collison, a talented point guard, surprised many when he announced his retirement from the NBA in 2019 after nine seasons. Citing his desire to focus on his faith, Collison walked away from a successful basketball career to dedicate his life to the Jehovah's Witness community.

Darren C

Photo by All-Pro Reels is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

However, the pull of basketball proved too strong for Collison, who made a comeback in 2021 after two years away from the game. His return to the NBA, this time with one of the Los Angeles teams, the Los Angeles Lakers, showcased his ability to balance his passion for basketball with his spiritual commitments, proving that he truly does love basketball.

2. Danny Granger's Religious Upbringing and Baptism

Raised in a Jehovah's Witness household, former NBA player Danny Granger grew up with a strong foundation in his faith. Granger lent his talents to the Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, and Miami Heat during his nine-season NBA career, while remaining true to his religious beliefs.

danny g

Photo by CJ Isherwood is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

It wasn't until 2017, two years after his final season in the NBA, that Granger decided to be baptized. His faith journey became public knowledge when comedian Brittany Schmitt mentioned him in a comedy set, sparking curiosity about other NBA players who are Jehovah's Witnesses.

3. Dewayne Dedmon's Path to the NBA Despite Religious Obstacles

Dewayne Dedmon

Photo by James Santelli, Neontommy.com is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

As a Jehovah's Witness pursuing a career in basketball, Dewayne Dedmon faced numerous challenges. Despite religious obstacles and a slender physique, Dedmon persevered and eventually earned a roster spot in the NBA, playing for multiple teams throughout his career.

Dedmon's mother initially struggled with her son's athletic pursuits due to their family's religious convictions. However, she ultimately came to accept his passion for basketball and even attended some of his games. Dedmon's journey demonstrates the power of determination in overcoming adversity.

Remembering Dave Meyers' Commitment to Faith

Dave Meyers, a former Milwaukee Bucks player, made the bold decision to leave basketball in 1980 to focus on his family and Jehovah's Witness faith. As a college player for the UCLA Bruins, Meyers achieved two national titles and was selected with the second overall pick in the first round of the 1975 NBA draft. He played as a forward for the Bucks for four years before stepping away from the game.

Meyers' dedication to his faith remained steadfast until his passing in 2015 at the age of 62 due to cancer. His story serves as a powerful reminder of the sacrifices some athletes make in the name of their beliefs.

The Role of Faith in Professional Basketball


Photo by acidpix is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The world of professional basketball, including the National Basketball Association, can be a demanding and challenging environment, with players facing immense pressure and adversity both on and off the court.

For many athletes, their faith serves as a source of strength and support, helping them navigate the highs and lows of their careers. The stories of ex NBA players who are Jehovah's Witnesses illustrate the powerful role that faith can play in helping athletes cope with the challenges they encounter throughout their careers.

Faith can provide a sense of purpose and meaning beyond the game, acting as a buffer against stress and offering comfort, support, and inner strength during challenging times. For many players, their religious beliefs not only guide their personal lives, but also impact their approach to the game, fostering discipline, determination, and a sense of camaraderie with their teammates.

By relying on their faith to help them overcome adversity, these athletes are able to maintain focus and drive even in the face of trying circumstances. In doing so, they demonstrate that faith and sport can coexist harmoniously, with each serving to strengthen and inspire the other.

Coping with Pressure and Adversity

Faith can be a powerful tool for athletes facing pressure and adversity in professional basketball. By providing a sense of purpose beyond the game, faith can help athletes maintain focus and drive, even when faced with difficult circumstances. Moreover, faith can offer solace and support during trying times, helping athletes find inner strength and resilience.

The stories of ex NBA players who are Jehovah's Witnesses provide compelling examples of the ways in which faith can help athletes cope with the challenges they face. From Darren Collison's decision to retire and then return to the NBA to the perseverance shown by Dewayne Dedmon in overcoming religious obstacles, these athletes demonstrate the power of faith in helping them navigate the complexities of professional basketball.

Building a Supportive Community

Faith can also play a crucial role in building a supportive community within professional basketball. By fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie among athletes, faith can facilitate greater collaboration and ultimately lead to enhanced outcomes on the court.

For players like Darren Collison, Danny Granger, and Dewayne Dedmon, their faith not only helps them cope with the challenges they face individually, but also contributes to a more positive and supportive environment within their teams.

By maintaining a strong connection to their faith, these athletes are able to cultivate a sense of belonging that transcends the boundaries of the basketball court, promoting better relationships and a more positive atmosphere for all involved.

Other Notable NBA Players with Strong Religious Beliefs

The ex NBA players who are Jehovah's Witnesses are not the only athletes in the league with strong religious convictions. Many other notable NBA players, such as Kobe Bryant and Jeremy Lin, have also made their faith an integral part of their lives, showcasing the importance of spirituality in the world of professional sports.

In this section, we will explore the stories of these athletes, highlighting the ways in which their faith has shaped their careers and personal lives.

Kobe Bryant's Catholic Faith

The late Kobe Bryant, one of the most iconic figures in the history of basketball, was a devout Catholic. Raised in a Catholic household and attending Catholic school, Bryant was instilled with the significance of faith and prayer from an early age.

Throughout his life, Bryant was a staunch advocate of the power of faith and prayer, frequently discussing the importance of spirituality in his life and how it helped him during difficult times. His unwavering faith serves as a testament to the impact that religion can have on an individual's life, both on and off the court.

Jeremy Lin's Christian Devotion

Jeremy Lin

Photo by DvYang is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Jeremy Lin, another prominent NBA player, is known for his unwavering devotion to Christianity. Active in his church and a frequent reader of the Bible, Lin's faith plays a significant role in his life and basketball career.

Lin's devotion to his faith has not only guided his personal life, but has also influenced his approach to the game, instilling in him a sense of purpose and direction that transcends the basketball court. His story serves as a powerful reminder of the profound impact that faith can have on the lives of professional athletes.

If you are interested in Jehovah's Witnesses, you may also be interested to read about Scientology. In this article, we explore John Travolta's sexuality and his connection to the Church of Scientology.


The stories of ex NBA players who have embraced the Jehovah's Witness faith, as well as those like Kobe Bryant and Jeremy Lin with strong religious beliefs, demonstrate the profound impact that faith can have on the lives and careers of professional athletes.

Through their dedication to their beliefs, these players have shown that faith can provide a sense of purpose, strength, and support in the face of adversity, helping them navigate the demanding world of professional basketball.

As we reflect on the inspiring journeys of these athletes, we are reminded of the power of faith in shaping our lives and guiding our decisions. Whether on the basketball court or in the wider world, faith can be a source of strength, hope, and inspiration for all who embrace it.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many ex NBA players are Jehovah's Witnesses and have a cousin Keith?

It is believed that only three former NBA players, Danny Granger, Dewayne Dedmon and Darren Collison, are Jehovah's Witnesses.

How has faith played a role in Darren Collison's NBA career?

Darren Collison has been vocal about his faith, citing it as an integral part of his personal life and NBA career. In 2019, he retired from the league to explore spirituality, returning in 2021 with a heightened appreciation for basketball that came with increased spiritual growth.

His faith has played a pivotal role in guiding his decisions and successes throughout his time in the league.

What obstacles did Dewayne Dedmon face in pursuing his basketball career as a Jehovah's Witness?

Dewayne Dedmon faced a number of challenges in his pursuit of an NBA career as a Jehovah’s Witness, particularly the requirement to abstain from participating in practices and games on weekends. Nevertheless, with his strong faith, hard work and dedication, Dedmon achieved his goal and has enjoyed a successful professional basketball career.

Note: Thumbnail image by RMTip21 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Fahim Faisal
Fahim FaisalContent Writer
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