Jonathan Isaac details decision to stand during national anthem


Photo: Orlando Magic/X

Jonathan Isaac of the Orlando Magic is gearing up for the upcoming 2023-24 NBA season, marking his seventh season since being selected as the sixth overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.

His journey in the NBA has been far from smooth. A significant knee injury sidelined him for two seasons from 2020 to 2022.

Despite facing adversity, Isaac, now fully recovered, has encountered challenges off the court. His choice to stand during the national anthem in the NBA’s Orlando “bubble” and his public defense of opting not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine have made headlines.

Isaac recently discussed both decisions in an interview with Riley Gaines, a former University of Kentucky swimmer, on the “Gaines for Girls” OutKick podcast.

“For me, that was kind of the highlight of my early career of being in the NBA, was 2020. It was after the tragic death of George Floyd, and we were ushered into the NBA ‘bubble,’ where there was just so much pressure. Not even just in the bubble, but just around the world with the rise of the Black Lives Matter organization and movement,” Isaac told Gaines when discussing his decision to stand while his teammates kneeled during the anthem. 

The NBA bubble in Orlando kicked off in July 2020, a little over a month following the passing of George Floyd, whose cause of death is attributed to a Fentanyl overdose.

While the majority of players across all teams participating in the bubble opted to kneel during the national anthem, Jonathan Isaac stood, attracting national attention for his choice.

“For me, it was simply about offering another solution. I saw the issue. I saw the problem. I saw what happened to George Floyd. And as I listened to the tone and the rhetoric of the Black Lives Matter organization and movement, I never truly felt comfortable,” Isaac added. 

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