Magic Star, Spurs Coaches First to Stand for Anthem During NBA Restart

Dan Mennella
August 01, 2020 - 5:35 am

Jonathan Isaac of the Orlando Magic on Friday became the first player to stand during the playing of the national anthem prior to a game at the league's restarted season in Disney World.

Isaac stood and wore his jersey top, while every other player on the Magic and the opposing Brooklyn Nets donned Black Lives Matter t-shirts and knelt during the anthem.

The third-year veteran, who is an ordained minister, cited his religious beliefs while explaining his decision after the game, which Orlando won, 128-118.

"I don't think kneeling or putting on a T-shirt, for me personally, is the answer," Isaac said. "For me, Black lives are supported through the gospel, all lives are supported through the gospel.

"We all have things that we do wrong, and sometimes it gets to a place about pointing fingers about which wrong is worse, and whose wrong is seen. I feel like the Bible tells us we all fall short of god's glory."

Isaac discussed his decision with his Magic teammates beforehand, and they supported him, according to the Associated Press. Isaac has been recognized by the Magic for his charitable work, the story said.

The Magic's owners released a statement saying they support all of their players.

Later on Friday, two San Antonio Spurs coaches -- head coach Gregg Popovich and assistant Becky Hammon -- also stood during the anthem.

Popovich, a US Air Force Academy alum and outspoken supporter of Black Lives Matter, declined to disclose why he didn't kneel along with his players.

"Everybody has a personal decision," Popovich said after the game, ESPN reported.

Spurs star DeMar DeRozan said Popovich gets a pass given his history of supporting the movement, according to ESPN.

The NBA has had a longstanding rule mandating players stand for the anthem, but it was relaxed for the restart in anticipation of player protests. The league is also allowing players to wear messages of social justice on their jerseys, rather than their customary last names.

Isaac, a 22-year-old budding star, had been sidelined since January with a knee injury, but was expected to be eased back into action for the restart.

The Magic-Nets game marked the third contest since the league's restart, following the Pelicans-Jazz and Lakers-Clippers games on Thursday.

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