ORLANDO, Fla. — NBA star Jonathan Isaac hosted an event celebrating the launch of his new “anti-woke” apparel brand so people can have a brand to support that aligns with their values.
Isaac, an Orlando Magic forward who’s also an ordained Christian minister, made headlines in 2020 for refusing to kneel during the National Anthem alongside his teammates who were wearing jerseys supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
The media firestorm brought him national attention, and now he is capitalizing on his stance by launching UNITUS, a high-quality apparel line.
During a Q&A at the UNITUS launch Saturday night, Isaac revealed that his pastor, Bishop Durone E. Hepburn of J.U.M.P. Ministries Global Church, inspired the idea for the brand.
“One day, we were talking about what it would look like to start a values-based sports and apparel company,” Isaac shared in the room full of guests that included athletes, influencers, journalists, pastors, musicians and business executives.
“He actually said to me, ‘Why don’t you create your own sneaker? So I started to go down the road of what that would look like, and I did.”
Isaac said he “started working on what a shoe could possibly look like, and then it blossomed into this idea of why not start an entire sports and apparel company and give people the freedom to buy with their values.”
The New York native said he also fell in love with the name UNITUS, which was also suggested by his pastor, adding that “the name sounds like a transformer.”
“I loved it. I loved the ingenuity. I love the idea of all of us coming together around values, around things that unite us and pushing back against everything that’s happening in our world today,” he noted.
Isaac made it clear that he wants his brand to celebrate faith, freedom and American values.
Grammy-nominated artist Tauren Wells was invited to kick off the night’s event in song and during his set, Wells shared why he’s supporting Isaac’s apparel brand.
“I just love identifying people who are willing to not just talk about the things that they value but to actually act upon them,” the “Hills and Valleys” singer shared with the audience.
“I was thinking about Jonathan, and he reminds me of a modern-day Daniel. The amazing thing about Daniel was, he was talented; he was intellectual, he was gifted, and all of those things attributed to his success. But the Bible gives a defining quality for Daniel: It says that it was because of his excellent spirit that he was actually promoted above priests and presidents.”
Wells, who is gearing up to plant his own church in Georgetown, Texas, in January 2024, went on to say that Isaac is someone who truly lives out what he believes.
“What is so exceptional about Jonathan is not just what he does, but how he does it. I think that should be said of every believer, everyone who carries the name of Jesus. It’s not just about how loud we can shout our convictions. It’s about how much action we actually place around them,” Wells maintained.
All-American swimmer Riley Gaines Barker, was also in attendance at the event. During a behind-the-stage interview, which streamed on the big screen at the event, the athlete also shared her support for Isaac.
Gaines Barker made headlines in recent years as well for openly opposing biological men competing in women’s sports. The swimmer began gaining media attention after she tied with Lia (Will) Thomas, the biological male swimmer who identifies as female, in a 200-yard freestyle at the 2022 NCAA Women’s Championships.
“People are looking to put their money elsewhere. We see the direction Nike is going, we see all these corporations such as Bud Light, and Target and Tampax, and all these companies, we see what they’re doing,” Gaines Barker shared.
“People are fed up but we don’t feel like we have an alternative, especially when it comes to athletic wear or streetwear, but now we do!”
The swimmer was referring to the fact that companies such as Target, Bud Light and Disney, among other brands, have adopted a “woke” approach to social issues.
“Putting my money where it matches my values is important and I know the general public feels this way, and so this will be huge,” she added. “I’m so excited for Jonathan. I’m so proud of him and the stand he’s taken, and ultimately just standing for the truth, and standing for common sense and so I’m thrilled to be here.”
UNITUS promotes “True Greatness” on most of its merchandise, Isaac declared, adding that he believed that “true greatness is found in none other than Jesus Christ.”
The star-studded event also featured a fashion show and ended with a grand fireworks show.
Jeannie Ortega Law is a reporter for The Christian Post. Reach her at: email@example.com She’s also the author of the book, What Is Happening to Me? How to Defeat Your Unseen Enemy Follow her on Twitter: @jlawcp Facebook: JeannieOMusic
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