Stand Firm: Orlando Magic’s Jonathan Issac Launches the First Evangelical NBA Shoe

Stand Firm: Orlando Magic’s Jonathan Issac Launches the First Evangelical NBA Shoe November 23, 2023

For decades, professional sports have been televised and athletes, like Orlando Magic Power Forward Jonathan Issac, have done what they can to witness and testify when the cameras are on them. That’s life for a Christian player in the NBA when they score or have a nice pass (or any sport, for that matter).

Tim Tebow has something in common with Orlando Magic Forward Jonathan Issac
Tim Tebow led the Florida Gators to victory in the FedEx BCS National Championship against the Oklahoma Sooners, 2009. (Credit: Chris Szagola/Cal Sport Media/Newscom)

Up until Tim Tebow decided to place John 3:16 on his eye black, most guys would point up at the sky (as if that has been a witness to anyone), genuflect, or raise their hands as in church.

It’s nice to see when some athletes with conviction take representing Jesus a step further, like a sign of the Cross (regardless of where they go to church) or writing a cross on their cleat, shoe, or skate.

Fast forward to Jonathan Issac, who has taken witnessing to heart as his shoes are Christian-made with a Christian mission. Introducing the JUDAH 1s. 

Aside from the son of Jacob and the chosen bloodline of the 12 Tribes of Israel, Judah may not carry a world of familiarity to those not following Christ. However, these are the first sneakers–basketball or any other sport–created with Bible verses on the shoe.

Stepping Up His Game

Christian NBA player Jonathan Isaac poses with shoes from his UNITUS JUDAH 1 sneaker line in a promotional video
Credit: Jonathan Issac via Twitter

Jonathan Issac isn’t considered a “superstar player” by glancing at his numbers. Yet, don’t be so quick to pull the trigger. The guy is a defensive force, and had it not been for a torn ACL, he may have a DPOY award on his mantle next to his Bible.

(Shout out to my son and basketball nerd, Aaron Myles, for the backgrounder there.)

Back to Issac, this is a child of God making the most of his platform and passions–God and Basketball. The 26-year-old Power Forward has been hot on “Xwitter” lately. One of his most recent posts discusses this business decision.

Most people see the “Judah 1” as an outlandish endeavor. Shoot, when we first started, so did I. I was afraid that delivering a sneaker that represented our values without compromising style or performance was too tall a task. But here we are!

If you’re getting a Jordan Carolina feel, join the club. Those are sweet! Now, if you’re wondering about the quality, it sounds like these will not be some retread AND1s ready for a blowout. “When it comes to the on-court performance of the shoe, what I absolutely needed it to be was a real basketball sneaker,” said Issac in a Christian Post interview. “It’s robust. It is strong. I’m excited for people to check it out and get their hands on it.”

The guy left Nike to launch his UNITUS brand. The dude has some hustle and business savvy. You have to give him that. Watch this guy sell those kicks…er, uh, testify of God’s goodness.

Two of the scriptures featured on the Jonathan Issac shoe are:

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NIV


Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

Romans 8:37 NKJV

When it comes to testifying his love for Jesus and witnessing to anyone who sees him play in the NBA, you could say that he’s putting his mouth where his money is at…but you understand. Now, go buy his shoes! Support the cause. And Christmas is coming. It’s for the kids.


About Shawn Paul Wood
Shawn Paul Wood is an award-winning copywriter, storyteller, and best-selling ghostwriter of several faith-based books who has worked for some of the most admirable brands in their respective industries for more than 20 years. As Founder of Woodworks Communications with a doctorate in Theology, he leads teams of content strategists and marketing professionals to expand the brands and audiences of corporate leaders, serial entrepreneurs, and respected ministers of the Gospel. Prior to working with global communications agencies, he was a media relations director and communications executive for noted leaders, such as Abide, D/FW International Airport, UNCF, Mannatech, Christians United for Israel, Avocados from Mexico, U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, Darden, and Bishop T.D. Jakes. His purpose is to help others develop self-discovery through stories and the written word to proclaim the Word to the world. For more information or help, visit You can read more about the author here.

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