On Sunday night, Orlando Magic big man Jonathan Isaac suffered a brutal knee injury, tearing his ACL, that required him to be taken off the court on a wheelchair.
It was a stunning, difficult moment for a man who had worked so hard to get back to his team. Prior to the NBA suspending its season back in March, it was thought that Isaac would be done for the year with a knee injury. The time off gave him a chance to rehab and return to his teammates in time for the NBA restart in Orlando.
Then, disaster struck.
The injury hit his teammates hard, too.
“That was tough, man,” teammate Aaron Gordon said, per ESPN. “That one brought me to tears, and instantly — just because I know how good of a guy J.I. is and how hard he works and how hard he has worked to get back since hurting himself in D.C. That was tough.”
There’s another layer to all this as well.
Jonathan Isaac jersey sales had ‘skyrocketed’ before his ACL injury
As noted by Top Ball Coverage on Twitter, Isaac was second to only Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James in jersey sales before he was hurt.
A player who wasn’t exactly shining on the national stage until recently, Isaac’s popularity spiked in Orlando. The reason it did is that he took a stand, literally, becoming the first player in the league to stand and not wear a Black Lives Matter shirt during the playing of the national anthem.
Citing his religious beliefs, Isaac said that “kneeling or wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt didn’t go hand in hand with supporting Black Lives.”
“I believe that Black Lives Matter. A lot went into my decision, and part of it is, I thought that kneeling or wearing the Black Lives Matter t-shirt doesn’t go hand-in-hand with supporting Black lives. So I felt like, just me personally, what is that I believe is taking on a stance that, I do believe that Black lives matter, but I just felt like it was a decision that I had to make, and I didn’t feel like putting that shirt on and kneeling went hand in hand with supporting Black lives. I believe that for myself, my life has been supported by gospel, Jesus Christ, and everyone is made in the image of God and that we all forge through God’s glory.
“Each and every one of us do things that we shouldn’t do and say things that we shouldn’t say. We hate and dislike things that we shouldn’t hate and dislike, and sometimes it gets to a point where we point fingers, whose evil is worse, and sometimes it comes down to whose evil is most visible. So I felt like I wanted to take a stand on, we all make mistakes, but I think that the gospel of Jesus Christ is that there’s grace for us, and that Jesus came and died for our sins and that if we all come to an understanding of that and that God wants to have a relationship with us, that we can get kept all of the things in our world that our messed up, jacked up.
“I think when you look around, racism isn’t the only thing that plagues our society, that plagues our nation, that plagues our world, and I think coming together on that message that we want to get past not only racism but everything that plagues as us as a society, I feel like the answer to that is gospel.”
His explanation seemingly resonated with many. It would explain the sudden spike in his jersey sales. It’s just brutal that Isaac ended up suffering a season-ending injury days afterward.