Magic's Jonathan Isaac explains standing for national anthem by himself amid NBA protests

Written By Dan Bernstein
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(Getty Images)

Magic forward Jonathan Isaac said his decision not to kneel with his teammates for the national anthem on Friday or wear a Black Lives Matter shirt came from his critical view of the gesture as a form of seeking change.

NBA competitors have been using anthem kneeling as a way to protest racial injustice in the U.S.

Isaac, who became the first NBA player not to protest during the anthem following the league's restart this week, said he informed his locker room of the choice before the team's 128-118 win over the Nets.

He's an ordained minister who said he believes his life has been supported by the gospel and that religion is the way "to get past skin color."

"I believe that Black lives matter," Isaac said. "Kneeling while wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt doesn't go hand-in-hand with supporting Black lives."

MORE: Charles Barkley explains his support for those who don't kneel

Isaac suffered what would have likely been season-ending injury in January when he hyperextended his knee on a fast break. Before going down, he was having the most complete year of his career.

Because of the four-month delay in action this season amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Isaac has been able to recover in time to suit up for the Magic for the final weeks of the campaign. He came off the bench Friday and poured in 16 points in 16 minutes.

His relationship with his team does not appear to be strained by his decision to stand for the anthem, at least according to coach Steve Clifford and guard Evan Fournier.

"That’s his choice and he doesn’t need to (explain)," Fournier added.

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