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Thursday, September 21, 2023


Glory in the game: Faith as agent for athletes’ success


Boxer Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Clay, had strongly-held Sunni Islam beliefs. | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Belief will get an athlete far, be it toward a golden career or betterment in life.

Take a look at some of the sporting luminaries crediting faith as the drive for them to win every match in-competition and conquer every minute as an ordinary person.

Stephen Curry’s opening statement of his 2015 NBA MVP speech:

“This is a tremendous honor. First and foremost, I have to thank my Lord and savior Jesus Christ for blessing me with the talents to play this game, with a family to support me day in and day out. I’m his humble servant right now and I can’t say it enough how important my faith is to how I play the game. I’m just blessed and I’m thankful for where I am.”

Sugar Land-native Simone Manuel on becoming the first African-American to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming:

“All I can say is all glory to God, it’s definitely been a long journey these last four years. And I’m just so blessed to have a gold medal.”

Former Houston Cougar and NBA champion Hakeem Olajuwon on rededicated himself to his Islamic faith following the 1988-1989 season:

“I would arrive at the mosque after practice each day and I would pray and study, and before I knew it, it was eight at night. I was trying to memorize some of the chapters and verses of the Quran in the beautiful rhythmic tone in which it is recited properly. My time became very valuable to me, there weren’t enough hours in the day to read. I had found a community, and I felt completely at home.”

Tiger Woods’ public apology after his sex addiction was exposed worldwide:

“People probably don’t realize this, but I was raised a Buddhist and I actively practiced my faith from childhood until I drifted away from it in recent years. Buddhism teaches that a craving for things outside of ourselves causes an unhappy and pointless search for security. It teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint. Obviously, I lost track of what I was taught.”

Heisman Trophy winner and former NFL running back Ricky Williams on his unique faith:

“Religions are something that were developed based on culture. The religions are many, but God is one. I believe based on what I’ve studied, all religions say the same thing but in different ways. I really enjoy learning about different religions and different ways of doing things and different ways of looking at the world. Some people would consider the occult a religion or the mechanism behind religion. It’s using words and using your thoughts to create an internal reality.”

The late Muhammad Ali’s message to his daughter, Hana, before his passing:

“There is only one true religion, and that is the religion of the heart. God never named it Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, etc. Man gave the titles, and that’s what separates and divides us. My dream is to one day see a world that comes together to fight for one cause — the human cause.”

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