Christian Athletes Who Play & Pray

While some athletes may shy away from mixing religion and sports, others are devout Christians who openly share their faith. Read on as we look into some of the top Christian athletes and how their faith has been instrumental in their professional and personal lives.

Tim Tebow

Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow is known for being vocal about his Christian faith, both on and off the field. In 2007, Tebow won the Heisman Trophy with the Florida Gators, setting various school and national records. Known for wearing John 3:16 on his eye black, the media attributed the NCAA message ban on eye paint as “The Tebow Rule.” Additionally, his propensity for kneeling on one knee and bowing his head to honor his faith started the term “Tebowing” by fans and media. After college, Tebow played in the NFL for the Denver Broncos and Philadelphia Eagles. Tebow is currently playing baseball in the New York Mets organization and continues to publicly share his religion through motivational speeches, books and media.

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Mariano Rivera

As a 13-time All-Star with five World Series championships on his resume, this former New York Yankees pitcher is another example of a famous Christian athlete. Deemed the “greatest closer of all-time,” Rivera regularly acknowledged God’s oversight of his professional and personal life. For instance, he attributed the 2001 World Series Game 7 loss to God’s providence. If the Yankees had won that game, his teammate Enrique Wilson would have departed to the Dominican Republic on a flight that eventually crashed, killing everyone on board. Having established the Mariano Rivera Foundation in 1998, Rivera provides educational funding for children in his home country of Panama. The foundation also funds Panamanian church start-ups and donates to local charities in the United States.

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Kurt Warner

Kurt Warner’s religion is no secret to football spectators and the media alike. Whether it was his 2000 Super Bowl MVP trophy speech, the 2008 NFC Championship acceptance speech or his Hall of Fame speech, he glorified and thanked during each his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. While many athletes would shy away from the unlucky number 13, Warner welcomed it with open arms. The message is clear for Warner, there is no reason to believe in superstition. To him, it is God who controls all things.

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David Robinson

Nicknamed “The Admiral,” David Robinson is a Hall of Fame NBA center with the San Antonio Spurs. During his time with the Spurs, he won an MVP Award, two NBA championships and two Olympic gold medals. He is one of the most well-known NBA Christian sports stars ever. Robinson has always been known as a man of faith and has publicly talked about his Christian walk and how it shaped his life on and off the court. Despite his NBA success, it was ultimately his faith and devotion to God that made him feel complete.

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Bethany Hamilton

Bethany Hamilton is one of a select number of Christian athletes with an inspirational comeback story. When Hamilton was only 13, a tiger shark attacked and severed her left arm while she was surfing in Kauai, Hawaii. Despite losing her arm, Hamilton was determined to get back on her board and returned to surfing only a month after the incident. Not only did she continue on to have a successful surfing career but she also came out with a memoir and film and has made various television appearances. She credits her Christian faith for her survival, comeback and ability to navigate the most challenging times.

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Jeremy Lin

Lin quickly became a worldwide cultural phenomenon evidenced by “Linsanity”, when he turned around the New York Knicks during the 2011-12 NBA season. Having been promoted to the starting lineup, Lin led the Knicks to the 2012 playoffs. His stellar play paved the way to appearances on Sports Illustrated as well as being named one of Time Magazine’s most influential people in the world. Lin was one of a handful of Christian NBA players who openly spoke about his faith. He frequently mentioned it in interviews and social media posts how Christianity has been an integral part of his basketball career.

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Bubba Watson

After winning multiple tournaments, including two Masters, and reaching number two in the Official World Golf Ranking, Bubba Watson is no stranger to success. At the age of 19, Watson became a Christian and started attending church. However, as time progressed, he started drifting away from his faith. Watson would often lose his cool and curse those around him after a bad shot. His confrontation with his caddie awoke a revival in him. Since then he has embraced his faith. Today, Watson is a vocal believer, attributing his success to God. He’s also an active philanthropist, donating money to various charitable causes.

Darryl Strawberry

As the 1983 NL Rookie of the Year and an 8-time baseball All-Star who is best remembered for his play with the New York Mets, Darryl Strawberry was seemingly on top of the world. However, looks can be deceiving and Strawberry turned to alcohol and drugs to deal with issues that stemmed from being abused by his father along with the pressures associated with being a star. He ultimately found Christ and completely transformed his life. Today, Strawberry runs a ministry and is one of the most popular Christian speakers, sharing his story around the country.

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