With Target, Bud Light, Disney, and other brands taking center stage in the “woke” culture wars, NBA star Jonathan Isaac has launched a new brand to celebrate faith, freedom, and American values.
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Isaac, who plays for Orlando Magic, officially launched his UNITUS apparel company during a large, all-star event Saturday night in Orlando, Florida, featuring a fashion show, a performance by GRAMMY-nominated Christian artist Tauren Wells, fireworks, and more.
Athletes, stars, journalists, and noted business executives joined in the celebration to launch a brand that promises to represent “true greatness.” Riley Gaines, the former collegiate swimmer who has vocally opposed biological men competing in women’s sports, was among those in attendance.
What an incredible night for the #UNITUS launch event! True greatness is a movement and one that everyone gets to participate in to rep the values of Faith, Family, & Freedom.— UNITUS (@weareunitus) July 30, 2023
Shop UNITUS: https://t.co/eHcYzvorvS pic.twitter.com/U4ndIvubZA
“I do see this as something that is bigger than me,” Isaac said during a Q&A portion of the launch. “And so, for that, I have to give glory and honor to Jesus Christ.”
He spoke about his belief “true greatness is found in none other than Jesus Christ” and the importance of not measuring oneself in terms of “world standards.”
“And that is what UNITUS is about,” Isaac added.
As CBN’s Faithwire previously reported, Isaac went viral in 2020 for departing from his fellow Orlando teammates and refusing to kneel during the National Anthem or wear Black Lives Matter attire. That decision catapulted him into the headlines and led him to write a book, “Why I Stand.”
Now, Isaac is filtering that energy into a brand he believes will invigorate conservatives, Christians, and those looking to invest in clothing representative of their values.
“UNITUS is desperately needed today, because more and more brands in the sports and leisure wear space are abandoning the consumers’ desire for them to be impartial on matters of culture, spirituality, and politics,” Isaac previously told CBN’s Faithwire. “Many brands have overtly endorsed harmful and divisive ideologies that have left consumers looking for alternatives.”
He said there’s a profound need for a “hopeful brand bolstered by values of faith in Christ, American freedom, and family-building.”
Isaac believes UNITUS will provide products consumers will feel good about both inside and out — a rarity in today’s marketplace, as he argues some brands have taken to undermining or even attacking conservative and Christian values.
The NBA player believes it’s important to use his freedom to create an alternative, and hopes to sign athletes from across various sports to don his merchandise. UNITUS makes T-shirts, sweats, shorts, sneakers, and other athletic apparel.
In the end, Isaac wants to create a “real infrastructure of people” across the spectrum who want to “give their money to a company they know is going to work toward bolstering their values.”
And with cultural trends continuing to become more chaotic, Isaac believes people must decide to live out their faith values fully.
“As the day continues to get darker and darker and crazier and crazier, you standing up for what you believe in is only going to get harder,” Isaac said. “But [it] is only going to become more necessary.”
Watch him explain in a “Faith vs. Culture” interview last year how and why he made his own decision to take a stand:
Isaac told CBN’s Faithwire how fellow NBA players decided on July 31, 2020, to kneel during the National Anthem amid the sea of protest that followed footage of Floyd’s death.
But Isaac decided to chart a different course.
“[I was watching] what happened to George Floyd and, as tragic as it was, trying to work through what is the best way to respond or if I need to respond at all,” Isaac said. “I was almost forced to because, once we get into the bubble, there is this immense pressure on NBA players to have to kneel for the National Anthem and wear a Black Lives Matter T-shirt.”
Isaac said, in some ways, it felt like there was no choice but to go along with what everyone else was doing, but as he pondered and prayed about how to progress, he realized a protest wouldn’t change hearts and minds.
“In the moment, I couldn’t think of a greater message or antidote for the times that we see,” he said. “Not just racism but all the things that plague the hearts of man. I couldn’t think of a better message than the Gospel.”
Rather than embrace any narrative outside biblical truth, Isaac said he chose to cling to the Gospel and opted not to kneel or wear the BLM shirt.
His decision wasn’t rooted in protesting or throwing hate or shade at Black Lives Matter. Instead, he said he wanted to show “the love of Christ.”
“It was really from a place of, I understand what’s going on … I understand the moment, but I know what the answer is going to be and the answer’s not going to be kneeling. The answer’s not going to be a movement or an organization,” Isaac said. “The answer’s going to be the hearts of men being changed — both black and white, both right and left.”
All of this culminated in his decision not to kneel. Isaac said he prayed before and during the headline-making moment, asking God to humble him. Read more about that decision here.
And find out more about UNITUS here.
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